Free trip to Jerusalem

I am a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. I served honorably in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2000-2005 during the Second Intifada. I served in three different units: Sayeret Golani, IDF Legal Unit (Praklitut), and the 7th Brigade of the Armored Division (Hativat Sheva).

I remember the start of the Second Intifada. It occurred late in the year 2000 after Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount. Sharon’s visit was used as a pretext to launch an intense urban warfare again Israel.

Barack Mandela, US Army soldier, at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas holding an Israeli flag. He served honorably in the IDF and US Army.

At the time, I was stationed at an IDF base near Jenin; the base is known as Bezeq. Our base and positions immediately came under Kalashikow rifle fire. In a fight for our lives, we returned fire.

After living in Israel for nearly 7 years, I returned to the United States where I enlisted in the United States Army. I underwent combat training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. I served during the Global War on Terrorism.

I was honorably discharged from the United States Army with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I therefore served honorably in the both the IDF and US Army.

As a disabled veteran, I live in a small apartment in a poor neighborhood. It is a struggle to pay bills, buy food, repair my car, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Barack Mandela praying at the Western Wall (Kotel) with an IDF soldier from the Givati brigade.

In order to visit my fellow soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces, I would like to make a trip to Israel. However, I cannot afford a trip to Israel. I do not qualify for “Birthright Israel”. I have written letters to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC and to the World Jewish Congress asking for a free trip to Israel.

Unfortunately, the Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer and WJC president Ronald Lauder have not responded to my requests for a free trip to Israel.

Saluting in front of my “Merkava” tank which I nicknamed “Netanyahu”.

I am a warrior for Israel. I am a warrior for the Jewish people. I fought in the Israeli military to protect the State of Israel. I fought in the US Army to protect the United States. I now ask the Jewish people to stand with me.

I gave my heart and soul to the Jewish world; I now ask the Jewish world to give it’s heart and soul to me.

About the Author
Licensed Attorney. Specialist on Jewish Affairs. Former Rabbinical Student: Aish HaTorah College in Jerusalem and Machon Meir College in Jerusalem. Former Staff Attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. Former Assistant to United States Senator Barbara Boxer. Former Intern for Mayor of Jerusalem Ehud Olmert and Jerusalem Spokesperson Haggai Elias. Israel Defense Forces 2000-2005. United States Army 2006-2008. Recipient of National Defense Service Medal, 2006. Israel Defense Forces Inspirational Soldier Award 2001.