Arielle Olinik-Adler had different aspirations growing up than most of her peers.
“It was always her dream to move to Israel and become a soldier,” said her mother, Ayala Rahimi, who lived in northern Tel Aviv as a child until her family moved to the United States in the early 1960s. “We’d raised our children to be Zionists, and she always spent a lot of time there, going back and forth when she was at college.
“After graduating Boston University, she made aliyah five years ago and immediately went into the army for two years. She’s been living there ever since.”
Meanwhile, her parents keep busy telling her story and promoting the cause.
That’s just one reason why they’ll be honored June 11 at the Bucks County Israel Bonds tribute brunch at Ohev Shalom of Bucks County in Richboro. Joining them as honorees are Mark and Harriet Levin, the parents of another lone soldier, Michael Levin, who was killed in action in 2006.
“We’re very flattered, and sharing this honor with the Levins is pretty amazing considering the sacrifice their family made,” said Scott Adler, who last saw his daughter in January, when she returned for the American celebration of her Thanksgiving Day 2016 wedding to Lior Olinik in Jerusalem. “We’ve crossed paths at various Jewish events over the years.”
“As an educator in the army, she actually taught Israeli soldiers about Michael Levin,” Rahimi said. “She was so touched to have that connection. She used to bring them to his grave at Mount Herzl.”
Knowing there was another family with a lone soldier in the area is meaningful to the Levins, who’ve helped establish three lone soldier centers in Israel in Michael’s honor.
“I have not met their daughter,” said Mark Levin, who recently returned from his annual visit to his son’s grave during Yom Ha’atzmaut. “I hope she utilizes the facilities of one of the lone soldier centers.”
Having left the Israel Defense Forces, Arielle Olinik-Adler, 28, has a different mission now, her parents said.
“We’re really proud of what she does,” Rahimi said. “She’s getting her MBA in nonprofit management. Her working in the nonprofit sector is all about her believing in the State of Israel.
“So she’s basically continuing what she did as a younger child.”
Meanwhile, Rahimi and Adler said supporting Israel Bonds is critical to its future.
“There’s a lot of demonization of Israel, so getting the word out in a positive way is crucial,” Adler said. “The sense of Israel as a racist or apartheid state is becoming more prevalent across college campuses.
“I’m more concerned about the youth. As they grow older and become more influential, if that’s the prevailing opinion, then support for Israel will only diminish further.”
“The misconception Israel is the aggressor is really dangerous,” Rahimi added. “People sort of forget they just want a right to exist as a Jewish state.”
The Bucks County event features guest speaker Izzy Ezagui who, after losing an arm in a mortar attack, became the only known Israeli soldier to return to full active combat duty after suffering such a disability. It will be the first of three reminders in what figures to be a busy — yet profitable — week for Israel Bonds.
Two nights later, on June 13, Tiferet Bet Israel in Blue Bell and Congregation Beth Or in Maple Glen will hold a joint tribute reception at TBI.
And on June 15, billionaire Warren Buffett, who invested $5 million in 2016 at an Israel Bonds event in Omaha, Neb., will be the featured speaker at a dinner in New York City. Already 100 investors have committed $150 million to Israel Bonds to attend.
They’re continuing a tradition both the Levin and Rahimi-Adler families have followed.
“I’ve been buying Israel Bonds for the longest time, long before I met Harriet,” Mark Levin said. “I’ve bought them for all my other kids and my grandchildren and in Michael’s name. I even have an original $50 bond somewhere signed by David Ben-Gurion.”
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