“When I was in 12th grade, I attended the Ben Shemen boarding school, and my studies focused on biology, agriculture, and social studies. During my high school years, I volunteered at Magen David Adom (Israel’s Red Cross), first as a crew-member and then as a guide for two and a half more years.
I heard about the Derech Eretz program for the first time, when Yonatan came to our school and told us about it. Not quite realizing what I was getting into, I decided to attend one of Derech Eretz’s open days. During that experience, I started understanding that a huge opportunity lies before me – to take a short break from the crazy race that’s called life – and do something special with the free time I would have before entering the army. Derech Eretz was truly a very meaningful time that allowed me to formulate my identity through community service, by learning about my homeland and its society, by exploring different cultures, and by learning to take responsibility for myself. During this time, I realized what kind of human being I want to be and what values I wish to hold. The value of trying to make the world a better place and the value of hard work are ones that I better understand thanks to Derech Eretz, and I have decided to take this with me onwards, for the rest of my life.
After Derech Eretz, in March 2013, I enlisted in the Armored Corps of the IDF. At the end of my training, I went on to attend commander school, which lead to serving as a tank commander in the training division. In July 2014, I served in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Following the operation, I continued serving as a tank commander in one of Israel’s operational areas. I finished my three years of service in March 2016.
Following my military service, I returned to live with my parents, and went to work as a fisherman in the Maoz Haim Kibbutz.
In October 2017, I started studying Molecular Biology at Ariel University which will take 3 years to complete. I intend to continue on to a PhD in Medicine which will take 5 more years of study. While I do realize that my dream of studying medicine might seem like the impossible dream for a boy who went to boarding school, or for someone who works as a fisherman… but I know that I have it in me to do this. I exceeded my own expectations when I became a commander in the IDF. I know that I become a doctor and be able to fulfill my dream by helping others once I will finish my studies.”
Assaf Donnyo, 23, Ramle
Derech Eretz, Nitzana Campus