From Australia to Liberating the Old City of Jerusalem
As a child, twenty-three-year-old Australian native, Ari Tuch heard stories from ex-Israeli soldiers and felt that he had to do his part. In a visit to Tel Aviv in his youth, he asks himself how he can sit on the beach and relax when the soldiers are working hard and not relaxing. Serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Brigade of Tzanchanim, he was surprised to receive a great deal of respect from Israeli soldiers and to see that it was much more rewarding than he imagined.
As a lone soldier in the IDF, he proudly states that he does not feel alone here, despite his family being so far away. He explains how he has his “army family” of the guys in his unit who care for him, a host family for some Shabbat meals , and his family from the Lone Soldier Center, who care for him, invite him to meals and give him a place to relax and know that he always has friends to hang out with off base.
“My time does not belong to me,” Ari says about his service. Though serving with eighteen year-olds is a strange adjustment, he is very proud to serve in Tzanchanim. His unit is known for liberating the Old City of Jerusalem, among other things. Once, when he was supposed to go home for a Shabbat, he tells us, his unit was called to Route 443 for an emergency. While searching and guarding, a young girl ran up to him and asked for a high-five. Despite the severity of the situation, he was touched that this girl went out of her way to put a smile on his face.
After the army, he hopes to finish with his aliyah process, get a job in venture capital, and to start a yeshuv.