My name is Ronen Feiner, I have just turned 23 years old and am originally from London, England. From a young age, it has been my dream to join the IDF and make a life for myself in Israel. University wasn’t something I had given much thought, instead I had my eyes set on moving to Israel at the age of 18 and fighting for the country I already loved and felt a deep-rooted connection to. Disappointingly, for a number of personal reasons, I didn’t manage to join the army and instead took a Gap Year with FZY to give myself time to decide what I will study at University and re-evaluate what I wanted from life – putting joining the army on the back burner.
I returned to England following my gap year in order to study Theology and Religious studies at Leeds University. University was the first time I really mixed outside of the jewish bubble, needless to say when explaining that I went to Israel on my gap year it turned a few heads. I was forever met with questions like … “Israel, isn’t that a war zone?!” or “Wow, were you not scared to go there!?” and so on. It quickly became apparent to me just how naive people were to the situation in Israel. It must be said that this naivety is no fault of their own, more a product of the disgustingly biased media which we face in England (something which I will touch upon at some point especially given the current situation). At Leeds I became heavily involved in the Jewish society and was elected to take the position of University Chair of the Jewish society. Commandeering this role allowed me to stick close to my Jewish roots and stand with Israel when others chose to speak out against it on campus. My three years at University were incredibly enjoyable, I have numerous fond memories and a massive friendship group that I will take with me for life. After graduating I knew the desire to come to Israel and serve in the army was still as strong as it always was. I decided to come on a 6 month internship program where I worked in a top real estate firm in Tel Aviv. I did the internship in order to immerse myself in the work force in Israel and decide whether now, as a recent graduate, moving to Israel was definitely the right move for me. For a while it took me a long time to decide, but once it became clear there was no going back.
On the 7th of May 2014, the day after Yom Ha’atzmaut, I became a fully fledged Israeli citizen and couldn’t be prouder. Knowing that I was going to the army I started attending Garin Tzabar seminars. Garin Tzabar is a program that facilitates lone soldiers (Soldiers who do not have direct family living in Israel), both with the Aliyah process and throughout their IDF service. Having now completed the first stage of the process, The Seminar Stage, I now know everyone that will be in my ‘Garin’ (Group), that I will live with for the duration of my army service, and get along with all of them fantastically. They are already like a family and I already see how the framework it provides will be incredibly important in times of need. I am now waiting for the next two weeks to pass until I begin the second stage of the process, The Absorption Period. During this period me and my Garin will begin the 3 month process into drafting into the army and building the group together until we all draft in November.
Thats a little info as to where this blog will be going. In the mean time I ask and encourage you all to check out my other blog which can be found through this link http://roneninisrael.blogspot.co.il/ in order to fill in the numerous blanks I have left. I welcome comments and questions and I hope you enjoy hearing what I have to say!