Friday, March 7, 2014
My Story - An introduction
My name is Ronen Feiner; I am 22 years old and graduated last summer from Leeds University where I studied Theology and Religious Studies. Throughout my life I visited Israel regularly, much of my family lives here and have of course served in the IDF. From a young age I showed a keen interest in serving in the army with a dream of becoming a fighter pilot. I quickly bought Jane’s combat simulator and took to flying my own F-15 jet recreating famous Israeli missions where Israel’s air superiority was recognised.
The First time I visited Israel by myself and not on holiday with my parents was on my year 9 Israel Trip with Immanuel College. Whilst on the trip we were encouraged to write down our feelings and reading them back not long ago it was apparent I was already set in my ways and convinced that the army was my dream. I had written about how I was ready to give my life for the country that I love. These feelings grew within me as I got older and I had decided that I would join the army at 18 – unfortunately due to certain personal reasons this dream was not to be a reality and I was convinced I should go to University, get a degree, and if my dream is still to serve, then after university I could do it. Having not ever considered university I decided to take a gap year and joined FZY Year Course – this was to be an amazing, life changing year and my first prolonged visit to Israel where I was able to begin immersing myself in the Israeli culture. In my final 2 months I joined Marva, an army experience program which I thoroughly enjoyed and still to this day hold fond memories of.
Post gap year I studied at Leeds University. Meeting new people and telling them about my gap year in Israel highlighted how naïve people are to the situation in Israel. Many of whom shocked that I would have gone to this ‘warzone’ for my year off. I will add this is in most cases no fault of their own but merely ideas formulated through watching biased English media. Whilst at Leeds I became the University of Chair of the Jewish Society which enabled me to stick close to my Jewish roots and stand with Israel when others chose to speak out against it on campus. I thoroughly enjoyed my three years at University; I grew as a person immensely and look back on it with incredibly fond memories.
Once I finished my final exams of University I went travelling with a group of friends, first to Central America: Mexico, Belize and Guatemala which was absolutely amazing. I returned home in order to graduate and then travelled again to East Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Travelling is an amazing experience and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone and everyone!!
As mentioned earlier, my dad told me when I was younger that if post university my dream was still to move to Israel and join the army that I would be able to do so, it is safe to say the dream is still there although now being that much older, having a degree and seeing both my sisters get married within the last few years makes the decision that much harder. I decided to join a 6 month internship program in Israel where I worked in one of Israel’s top Real Estate firms. I chose to do this internship in order to once again immerse myself within Israeli society, become part of the work force and decide whether I do really love Israel enough to sacrifice my life for it and give up the life I have back home in England to pursue my dream. During the 6 months I realised just how hard it is to live in Israel and how easy it is to spend money you don’t have. People should be under no illusion that whilst this is the land of milk and honey and there is a huge amount of support for new Olim, it is hard to make a good living out here and moving to Israel does mean sacrificing a certain amount of home comforts which are easy to come by and much cheaper in England, or anywhere else for that matter.
For now this is all I will write in this post but I am already writing my next blog post about why I am writing this blog and where I am at in making my decision to join the army and make Aliyah.