Jerusalem: A 22-year-old Indian-origin soldier with Israeli army has been awarded the President’s Medal of Excellence for his outstanding service.
Adiel Yosef, who immigrated to Israel from Mumbai four years ago, got the award for serving in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
“I always felt that strong connection to Israel and wanted to serve in the IDF. My parents didn’t want to move to Israel but on my insistence they first agreed to let me immigrate but finally joined me when the time came,” Adiel said.
“I was 153 Kgs when i came to Israel. I had always wanted to serve only in the combat unit but my physique didn’t allow me for that,” he said, who flashes a permanent smile on his face and has earned the nickname “Achi Chamud” (the cute brother) from his friends.
“The army, after several months of Hebrew learning course (ulpan), sent me to guard a checkpoint. I was disappointed but didn’t give up. I worked hard to lose more than 40 Kgs and reached out to IDF again to consider me for a combat unit. Following laid down procedures, i was accepted to an elite combat unit,” Adiel told PTI.
Following an exemplary service record in the combat unit, including his participation in Israel’s war in Gaza last year, the Indian Jewish soldier is now all set to join the officer’s course for which he was recently accepted.
“It was a very proud moment for me. My father would tell me stories about Israel and its battles in the region when i was young. Those stories inspired me to choose this role,” Adeil said.
He said getting injured during an operation to locate three Israeli youngsters who were kidnapped ahead of the Gaza war last year as a tough moment.
“I insisted on joining my colleagues during the war and was on the ground for 14 days despite the injury,” Adeil said.
President’s Medal of Excellence is awarded every year based on recommendations from commanders of various IDF units for the significant service and outstanding contribution to the Israeli army and the State of Israel.
“The face of hope is reflected in the faces of the 120 soldiers sitting here. Together these are the tribes of Israel,” said Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin yesterday during the ceremony to honour the soldiers.
“Today, our home stands firm, but our need for hope has not ended. That hope is reflected in the faces of the 120 soldiers sitting here. You are the proof that though we are forced to bear arms, it does not mean we sacrifice our social, traditional, and humanitarian values,” Rivlin said.
“You are testament to the fact that the IDF is outstanding, not because of its force, but because of its spirit”, he said, lauding soldiers’ commitment and dedication.
“The medal which you are awarded today is a symbol of heroism, of courage. It is a medal of leadership, of friendship, of fulfilling a mission out of humility,” he said.
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