FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) – A Fairhope graduate who is both an American and Israeli citizen will be leaving to join the Israeli army on Monday, August 11, 2014.
All Israeli citizens are required to enlist in the army. For men it’s three years and for women it’s two years. Because Simcha Antar has dual citizenship, she was able to choose if she wanted to enlist.
She says she feels obligated to serve her home country.
“I grew up with the culture in my house because of my dad. I grew up with Israeli foods and just everything Israeli, so going over there, I just feel like it’s home,” she said.
Simcha was born and raised in Fairhope, but her father, Shaul Antar, is from Israel. They visit his home country almost every summer. Simcha has spent most of the last two years in Israel where army service is a requirement.
Simcha is going to Israel at a dangerous time. Israel and Hamas are at war. She has experienced the battling first hand. Two of her cousins were killed in a bombing in the area. Simcha will be living just three kilometers from the war zone. But she says it doesn’t scare her.
“I’ve heard rockets, I’ve heard some bombs, but I don’t know why it doesn’t scare me but it doesn’t,” she said.
Her mother, Joy Antar, says she is nervous for her daughter, but proud.
“I’m happy for her, she’s doing something she really wants. She’s committed to Israel and it’s part of our heritage,” Joy said.
Simcha is packed to leave on Monday. She is allowed one suitcase and a carry on. She says she is ready.
“I know it’s not going to be easy, but I think it’s a good experience.”
Simcha says she does not think she will be in combat but won’t know her assignment until she goes through initial testing. Over the next two years she will be able to visit America twice while she is in the Army.