Noam Raz is a typical example of a young Israeli working his way through college.
Noam (27) was born and raised on Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet in the Jezreel Valley region. After his army service, and a year or two of seeing the world, he came back to Israel to settle down and begin his studies.
When the second Lebanon war broke out on July 12th Noam had successfully completed the second year of his degree on History of the Middle East at the University of Haifa.
When ground forces were sent in to Lebanon Noam, who had served in an elite infantry unit, knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would receive an emergency call up.
“I had just received a nice pay raise from the catering company I worked for during the summer. I was looking forward to working hard, staying in the little apartment that I had rented near the University and enjoying my vacation."
When Noam received his emergency call up he was ready and willing to play his part in defending his country. However, he had no time to think about what would come later.
“I was in Lebanon for more than three weeks. I saw the Katyushas fly overhead and my principal concerns were for my girlfriend, Suzanne alone in Haifa and my parents and friends on the Kibbutz.”
On his weekend leave from Lebanon Noam spent the little free time he had paying a condolence call on the family of a close friend who was killed in action; one of six from the Carmeli platoon that he serves in.
“I know that I have to be very thankful, and it puts everything else into a different perspective,” Noam surmises.
“When I returned to Haifa, exhausted from fighting, I spoke to the catering company. They said that every function was cancelled. I need to find a solution to keep me going financially. I know that it will be really difficult."
For reserve student soldiers like Noam, who were unexpectedly called to war this summer, the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with the UJC is providing immediate tuition scholarships. These scholarships will assist thousands of talented reserve soldiers in returning to college and completing their education; a crucial step for their future.
"There are so many others like me who had their plans shattered that bright summer day," says Noam. "I am thankful that I am still alive to complain about it.”
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