IDF Lone Soldier, Cpl. Rebecca Garner, 22, who made Aliyah to Israel from Montreal to serve in the Israel Defense Forces in 2010, spoke at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Shabbat at Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach with over 120 people in attendance.

How did a female hockey player from Montreal end up as a sharp shooter in the Caracal Unit of the IDF?.

Rebecca is a lone soldier and serves in Israel’s “Caracal” Combat Unit, the only combat unit in the history of the State of Israel where men and women train and fight together while defending the Jewish homeland. A few years ago, while sitting in synagogue with her parents on Yom Kippur, the Rabbi spoke about the younger generation not being connected to the State of Israel. Rebecca decided to change that and to make Aliyah to Israel to serve in the IDF. There she would protect and defend the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Rebecca’s father’s family had perished in the holocaust and this was a way to say “Never Again”. .

With her parents listening in the audience, Rebecca shared her story of what it’s like to be a lone soldier and a woman in the IDF. She talked about her “close call” on the Egyptian border while on a night patrol, and how just 4 days before she wasn’t sure she would make it here to speak. Luckily that day, things worked out okay. During basic training, Rebecca showed a natural skill in shooting and was immediately designated to train further as a sharp shooter in the unit. She talked about the help the FIDF gives to her in the Lone Soldier Program, and how thankful she is for the support. She knows she is never alone..

Israel’s Lone Soldiers are those who have no immediate family in Israel. Most Lone Soldiers have chosen to leave their countries of origin, and their families and friends back home, to join the IDF and serve the State of Israel. FIDF’s Lone Soldier Program supports these soldiers throughout their military service and helps them navigate the various challenges they face in a new country and an unfamiliar system. Upon completing their military service, FIDF remains by their side, assisting with their integration into civilian society in Israel..

Most exciting news is that Rebecca has just been informed she will be awarded the President’s Award of Excellence, a very prestigious award given at a special ceremony that occurs on Israel’s Independence Day when Israeli President Shimon Perez and Chief of Staff of the IDF, Benny Gantz, honor 120 members of the IDF for their notably outstanding performance. Her parents are filled with pride and plan to attend the special ceremony. .