“Something unreal”: the testimony of a Frenchman engaged with the Israeli army

Sébastien Le Belzic (special correspondent in Israel), edited by Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: Jalaa MAREY / AFP
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06:39, October 30, 2023

Ethan, 22 years old, is French, born in France. He arrived in Israel two years ago to join the army. And today, he is one of some 4,185 soldiers of French nationality mobilized on the front – the second foreign nationality represented, behind the United States -. Met by Europe 1, he explains that he has been deployed since the Hamas attack on October 7, and agrees to speak from a base kept secret.

“I really wanted to take action, even though I’m not an Israeli, I’ve never been to Israel… It’s an understanding that I’m Jewish, this is the land of the Jews , it’s the only place we have,” he testifies.

“Go, with your head held high, defend your country”

Chief sergeant in one of the IDF’s elite commandos, since the first hours of the war, he has been on the front line of the fighting against the Islamist organization. “At that age, to be sent to go fight and protect our loved ones is something that is unreal,” he says, adding: “It’s not something I wish on anyone. those who are that age: waking up one morning and seeing that your country has been attacked.”

For the first time, Ethan faces death. “Go, with your head held high, defend your country while knowing that some have not returned, or will never return…”, confides this French soldier, who wishes to add to the special envoy of Europe 1 that this Hamas attack “shocked the entire country”.

“Our objective, for the moment, is to confront terrorism, Hamas, and we will do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and we will do it the right way, that’s all,” he promises. . Ethan went back to fight with his unit right after this interview.

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