Sam Gosling – Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi 20122nd January 2020
Garin Tzabar’s extra care, compassion and understanding of what we were going through transformed my army experience and is a major factor in my decision to continue mylife in Israel.
I write this on the 7 year anniversary of my Aliyah and, despite the time that has passed, my reasons for making Aliyah are as relevant as ever. I came to Israel due to a sense of responsibility and community that was awakened in me during a roots trip to Poland. I asked myself, why would I not move to Israel after so many generations of Jews lived without a country to call their own? While New Zealand is a wonderful country and the home of Middle Earth, it is not the home of the Jewish people, here began my Aliyah plans.
I had never heard of Garin Tzabar, however, after it was recommended by the Aliyah advisor, I was quickly welcomed by the warm team who, despite the distance, were able to assist me in the actualization of my Aliyah plans and the daunting drafting process. I was placed on Kibbutz Tirat Zvi and provided a crash course in the Israeli army. Things that Israeli children had grown up with and learnt from their friends and family, we were taught in the classroom to ensure we could fully immerse ourselves and feel as comfortable as possible in the army experience.
Throughout my service, it was always exciting and comforting returning to Kibbutz on my weekends off. I knew that I had a host family, the Garin Tzabar representatives as well as a large group of like-minded, supportive friends.
The memory that most affirms my decision to be a part of the Garin Tzabar family was after Operation Protective Edge. Myself and 9 others from the team were injured on the last night of the operation. After being released from the hospital and returning to my apartment in Tel Aviv, my roommates and I were visited by the head of our Garin program who was doing rounds visiting the Garin soldiers, providing us with not only gifts but the care and support we lacked. This extra care, compassion and understanding of what we were going through transformed my army experience and is a major factor in my decision to continue my life in Israel.
While Garin Tzabar acted as my family during my service, my sister has now made aliyah and drafted to the army through Garin Tzabar. My positive memories of the assistance afforded me by Garin Tzabar during my service has encouraged her and I am sure many others to continue to come to Israel, draft to the army and realise our dream of a Jewish homeland.