A short while before Israel’s 63rd Independence Day, IAF commander, Id Nehushtan, hosts an event in honor of the Forces lone soldiers
As Corporal Adi Ganani stands in front of the uniform-clad audience at the Air Force Home in Herztliya, her excitement is palpable.
“I was born here in Israel. You could say I was a typical Israeli girl. In the middle of 10th grade, my parents announced to my sister and me that we’re moving to Boston”, she says. “As the time passed by, I started considering the option of going to college and coming back to Israel later, after many parties, experiences and with a Bachelors Degree”.
But Adi chose differently: These days, she lives in Israel alone and serves as a flight simulation instructor in Hatzor AF Base. “I couldn’t give up the amazing experience of serving the IDF and realizing the values I was raised on. Even if it means having everyone call me ‘crazy’”. Adi, who lives in Kibbutz Yifat, doesn’t let the ocean and time difference separate her from her parents. “My family will always be there for me”.
Adi and the rest of the “Lone Soldier Panel” live in a complicated reality. “Being a lone soldier means not having enough time to talk to your parents in the free hour given before sleep, because they’re probably sleeping themselves. It means coming home on a Thursday and unpacking, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and folding everything instead of throwing your bag down and forgetting about it. You need to learn to be mature, to deal with things, to be independent and have your sights set forward all the time”.
More than a 100 other lone soldiers who participated in the bi-annual convention in Hertzliya shared Adi’s feelings exactly.
“On Israel’s independence day, we allow ourselves to understand the tremendous value of freedom. We’re here because of one reason only-the deep-rooted quality of our people”, said Major General Ido Nehushtan, Commander of the IAF. “You won’t come to another place in the world and find a lone soldier serving in the army after deciding on his own to move to the country and leave behind his personal freedom for a larger cause. For that reason, we’re always behind you, supporting you”.