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Israeli Soldier, Westchester Native, Surprises Family At Gala

Ben reunites with his family at an FIDF gala.
Ben reunites with his family at an FIDF gala. Video Credit: Friends of the IDF (FIDF)

An Israeli soldier received quite the homecoming in Westchester.

Ben, a Hartsdale native whose last name is not being revealed, surprised his family at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gala held at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester last month.

"They don't know I'm in the country right now," Ben said in an interview before he surprised his family.

Ben decided to join the Israeli Army after making his "aliyah" and immigrating to Israel.

"It's the home of my friends and family and my people," Ben said. "I felt like I owed them something."

In the Israeli Army, Ben works for the Magav, the border police, on the West Bank, transporting prisoners.

"If a terrorist is caught, we take them to courts and to jail," Ben said. "We can leave the base at 5 a.m and you're on until your work is done. Our goal is to stop the next terrorist attack."

Ben said his high-pressure job is a mix of terrifying and exciting.

"Any one of these people can be a person that's had enough and comes at you when you're not looking," Ben said.

Transporting prisoners can be a little weird, though Ben said it's often not as awkward as you'd think.

"There's not really animosity," Ben said. "There's some friendliness. They know it's our job."

In the Magav, Ben works with Russians, Christians, Arabs, Jews and even Palestinians

"The training is rigorous," Ben said. "It's very hard so you suffer together. Nothing is better at creating friendships than suffering together."

Ben said he was excited to see his family again, including his niece who he hasn't seen in two years.

"You don't appreciate how good it is to see your family until you haven't seen them," Ben said.

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