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Israeli Soldiers Educating Young Utahns

Israeli Soldiers Educating Young Utahns

Posted - Dec. 12, 2003 at 5:44 p.m.



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Carole Mikita ReportingTwo Israeli soldiers have traveled to Salt Lake City, making a stop at the Jewish Community Center, to talk to young people about military service in their country. They say even though they are trained to fight, they hope to live in peace.

Americans see Israeli soldiers nearly everyday, but the news footage shows them reacting to a suicide bombing or participating in a retaliation attack. 22-year-old Lt. Eyal Sulimani is one of the paratroopers who arrests would-be terrorists.

Lt. 1st Class Eyal Sulimani, Israeli Army: "I have the responsibility to catch people who are going to explode themselves in the middle of Tel Aviv and we have information about them. And we just go the night before they are going to do it and we need to catch them."

Lt. Sulimani is traveling the Western United States with colleague Lt. Michal Cohen on a public relations campaign to educate young and old about what else they do. In Israel, military service is mandatory for all 18-year-olds, both men and women.

Lt. First Class Michael Cohen, Israeli Army: "Girls have to serve for two years. If they want to become officers, they have to serve for nine more months. And boys have to serve for three years, and if they want to become officers, they have to serve for another year."

Michal is fascinating to American students. She is an education officer, teaching language and cultural skills to immigrants. On a visit like this she faces a multitude of questions.

Lt. First Class Michael Cohen, Israeli Army: "Is it scary? Do you feel safe to go on the streets? What are you hoping for? They have all kinds of very interesting questions."

They are not permitted to talk politics with reporters but they told me what they ultimately want is a peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians.

Lt. 1st Class Eyal Sulimani, Israeli Army: "When I was a child, my mother told me, ‘When you be a grown-up, I don't think you need to join the army because there will be peace.’ I think I tell it to my children."

The two officers will be traveling next to California.

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