Thursday, February 5, 2015

Torah Warrior Profile: Kineret Kabda

Edna, Eliav and Kineret Kabda
Thirty years ago, Eliav and Edna Kabda arrived in Israel from Ethiopia via Sudan; two of the 6,000 Jewish Ethiopians to make Aliyah in Operation Moses. Much of that journey they covered on foot, risking their lives to fulfill their dream of living in Israel. They settled in Petach Tikvah, where they integrated well into the community and raised their seven children.

Eliav served in the IDF's Engineering Corp, and during one stint of reserve duty he earned a medal of honor for saving many lives, when he shot dead a suicide bomber at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron before she managed to detonate her bomb,

Eliav and Edna are proud that three of their children are presently serving in IDF combat units, including their oldest daughter, Kineret Kabda, who just completed boot camp in the "Karakal" (Desert Bobcat) Infantry Unit.

Like the vast majority of religious girls in Israel, Kineret volunteered for a year of National Service (Sherut Leumi) after graduating Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah. But as the year progressed, it became clear to her that she wanted to do more to contribute to the country. She felt the need to follow in her father's and brothers' footsteps as a combat soldier in the IDF.

"My father talked to us all the time about the importance of dong a significant combat service in the army," she says, "so choosing to enlist in a combat unit was a foregone conclusion. I'm very happy with the choice I made."

Avi and Kineret Kabda
What about the fear of her dangerous assignment ahead: patrolling the Egyptian border? "It's scary, but so is any other combat assignment. Every soldier takes into consideration that something might happen to him. That's part of the job; what we have to be prepared to give to the State."

Kineret's brother, Avi Kabda, himself an officer in the IDF Givati Brigade, says, "none of us put any pressure on Kineret to enlist, but we all knew that she would do it. She saw how we all contributed in the army and there was no way that she was going to allow herself to stand on the sidelines."

A growing number of YBA ulpana graduates are choosing to enlist in the IDF rather than serving for one or two years in the National Service, although very few volunteer for active combat duty as Kineret has done. A recently released study revealed that the majority of religious female soldiers in recent years felt that their commitment to Torah and mitzvot was strengthened, rather than weakened, by their experience in the IDF.

Kineret is yet another example of how the 74 schools in the YBA educational network are Training Israel's Future. We wish Kineret well in her tour of duty.

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