Rafael, 22, was raised in a traditionally Jewish home in Reims, France. He said that his pride in his Jewish identity, coupled with the anti-Semitism that is all too common in France, made him feel different from the other children at his school, even from an early age.
When he was sixteen years old, Rafael got into a fight with a schoolmate who had called him a "dirty Jew." It was a turning point—Rafael says, "From that moment on I was sure I wouldn't spend the rest of my life in France." Several years later, thanks to The Fellowship's On Wings of Eagles program, Raphael was given the funding and the support he needed to leave France behind and realize the dream of living in his Jewish homeland.
Raphael has made tremendous strides in the relatively short time that he has been living in Israel. He was awarded the first place prize in the Israel Young Science test contest and the second place prize in the International Science and Engineering Fair, where he competed against 1,200 other students from more than 30 countries. After graduating from school, Raphael chose to give back to the country that meant so much to him, and entered an elite unit of the Israeli Defense Forces.
Raphael says that one of his happiest moments came last year when On Wings of Eagles funded his family's aliyah (immigration to Israel). Now he is grateful to The Fellowship not only for the chance to live in the Holy Land, but for the opportunity to be reunited with his family as well. "The financial means to make aliyah is the greatest gift anyone can give a Jewish person," he says.
You too can help a youth, like Raphael, escape anti-Semitism and give them the opportunity to grow to their fullest potential in their Biblical homeland. Please Donate to On Wings of Eagles now »