Monday, October 28, 2019

Read the incredible story of the IDF's Iraqi Arabic instructor - by Neta Bar

For years, Command Sgt. Maj. V.'s family lived in fear under the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and hid their Jewish identity. Eventually, they became the last Jews to arrive in Israel from Iraq, whose once-glorious Jewish community no longer exists.

Neta Bar..
Israel Hayom..
23 October '19..

Throughout the history of the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF has frequently drawn on the services of new immigrants to Israel. Many have been called to the colors before they were fully acclimated to the country or even spoke fluent Hebrew. Like so many others, Command Sgt. Maj. V. was still a new arrival when she was called on to serve, but unlike most, she received the call precisely because of her knowledge and experience from her previous life in the Diaspora.

Command Sgt. Maj. V. serves as an Arabic instructor in the IDF's Intelligence Corps. She is responsible for teaching Arab culture and mentality as well as the Arabic language to intelligence personnel, for whom the knowledge is vital.

According to what her comrades in her unit say, V. has become something of a legend, not only because she is admired as a teacher or because she spent a long time in an operational unit, but mostly because of her personal story. Her family was one of the last Jewish families in Iraq and finally made aliyah after years of living in fear.

Israel Hayom meets with V. on an IDF base in central Israel. She arrives in uniform and as we sit down, she takes me through her incredible story, step by step.

V. was born to a Jewish family in Iraq. At the time, Iraq's Jewish community was a shell of its former glory and only a few thousand out of a community that once numbered 120,000 remained in the country.

The Iraqi Ba'ath regime persecuted the Jews who remained and saw them as spies. A few were even hanged to death on suspicion of espionage. The authorities' behavior convinced the Jews that it was time to leave – including V.'s family. But then the ax fell.

(Continue to Full Story)

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