It’s an Israeli rite of passage — many discharged soldiers leave the country for months after their service, backpacking across the Far East, South America and the United States.
One soon-to-be Israeli soldier is reversing the process — Boaz Halley will see the USA before he joins the IDF.
Boaz, 18, and his 45-year-old father Adam will leave New York City on Monday, by motorcycle, to take the nation’s highways to California, before returning here, via Canada, in mid-September. On used vehicles they planned to buy on the East Coast this week after arriving from Israel, they will ride across the country to raise money for and consciousness about the security needs of West Bank residents.
“It’s awesome. It’s a father-son trip,” Boaz says.
The Halleys, veteran riders who live in Ginot Shomron, in the Samarian hills, will stay with Jewish families during their journey, give lectures about Israel’s security situation to Jewish and Christian audiences in houses of worship and camps and other institutions, and collect money for Amit”z (amitz.org), a security coalition in the territories for which Adam, whose Army reserve service ends this year, is security coordinator.
Because of cutbacks in government funding, many small West Bank communities lack such equipment as walkie-talkies and bulletproof vests for members of emergency response squads, Adam, an immigrant from Vermont, tells The Jewish Week in a telephone interview from Israel, “This is a major problem.”
His “IDF Legacy Tour” of the U.S., which is not affiliated with the army, has a $100,000 goal. (Information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Facebook.com/IDFMotorcycleLegacyTour.)
Coordinating their travels with the Jewish Motorcyclists Alliance, they Halleys will adorn their vehicles with Israeli flags and decals, shlep some cans of tuna fish and other kosher food, and rest each Shabbat along the way. “We’ll be in shul the whole day,” Adam says.
After Boaz finishes his Army service in a few years, will he take a standard decompression trip somewhere in the diaspora?
“Probably,” he says. “We’ll see.”