WHAT did you do Sunday, July 20, 2014? Go to the mountains? Paint the spare bedroom? Mow the lawn? Stroll through the mall? Visit the grandchildren?
For Noémi Guiot, Sunday consummated a lifelong desire that has no birth date or expiration stamp.
The 17-year-old made aliyah to Israel, in the middle of a fierce war, to join the IDF.
“My parents are right-wing Zionists,” Noémi tells the IJN a few frenetic days before her Nefesh b’Nefesh charter flight. “I grew up with a love of Israel.
“And it’s been my dream since a very young age to serve in the military.”
The Canadian-born daughter of Dr. Ben and Monica Guiot speaks impeccable French, English, and excellent Hebrew. She happily spells unfamiliar words when requested.
Noémi will spend her first three weeks in Israel with relatives, attend a five-week ulpan “to brush up on my Hebrew and make friends” and then enter the military.
“I’ll be interviewed and take a series of mental and physical tests so the IDF can decide where to place me, either in a non-combatant or combatant position,” she says.
“My preference? If I could choose anything, I’d be a combatant soldier specializing in field intelligence.”
Even before Israel launched a massive ground incursion into Gaza on July 17, people asked Noémi whether she felt nervous about making aliyah.
“Actually, one day I lost it completely,” she admits. “I just stood in my room crying, ‘I can’t do this, I’m only 17!’ But I quickly realized I’m doing the right thing.
“I trust the IDF to act morally and protect me as best they can.”
Noémi just graduated Denver Jewish Day School. Out of all her classmates, she’s the only one not entering college this fall.