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Channel 13 Report: WIZO Graduate Discovers and Meets Half Sister at their Shared IDF Base

Avishai Smadja, a graduate of WIZO Hadassim, who came to study at the youth village on the Na'aleh program, discovered and met his half-sister Yael Ben-Shoshan for the first time, at the IDF base they both serve at.

October 27, 2019

This report appeared on Israel 13 News on the "6 with Amnon Levi" program.

A Story that Doesn't Happen Every Day:

Soldiers Serving on the Same IDF Base Discover they are Siblings

Yael Ben Shoshan and Avishai Smadja serve together at a base near the Gaza Strip - and following a message Yael received on Instagram from Avishai's sister, the three realized that they were half-siblings. "We were in shock, we didn't know how to respond to it"

by Amnon Levi    Thursday, October 24, 2019

Lost Siblings: A few weeks ago, Corporal Yael Ben-Shoshan received an Instagram message from her sister, whom she never met and did not know existed. In the message to Yael she informed her that she has another brother, Sergeant Avishai Smadja, who also just found out about Yael's existence a few minutes before. While his two sisters were talking, Avishai, who grew up in France, searched for Yael on the social network and found that she was serving with him at the very same IDF base.

The pair, who both serve at the Kerem Shalom base near the Gaza Strip, began talking and arranged to meet.

"I was looking for her, then I saw a picture of her in uniform and saw the location, and I realized that we were in the same base," Smadja said in an interview on"Six with Amnon Levi" on Thursday.

"It was a really weird conversation. I couldn't talk. It was very fast and  very emotional," Yael said of the first encounter with Avishai at the main gate of the base. "It was a shock. You can't respond to this kind of thing, it's not a story that happens every day. But since that first meeting we now meet all the time."


Yael Ben Shoshan and Avishai Smadja, half-siblings who met for the first time at the base where they both serve | Photo credit: News 13 (6 With Amnon Levi)

According to Yael, she and Avishai are half-siblings, as they have the same father. She is nine months younger than him and their mothers did not know each other. After the meeting, the two arranged to meet again at dinner and it was then that they closed the gaps in their life stories (Avishai was born in Israel but was raised in France and Yael lived in Israel her whole life ).

To watch the full video interview (in Hebrew) from the program click here

To read the full article (in Hebrew) click here.

Graduate of WIZO Hadassim

Avishai is a graduate of CHW Hadassim who came to live and study at the youth village as part of the Na'aleh Program for Jewish youth from around the world. Although born in Israel, when he was one year old his family moved to Paris and Avishai grew up in France. According to Zeev Twitto, Director of the CHW Hadassim Youth Village, Avishai experience anti-semitism at the public school in France he attended which influenced his decision to come live and study in Israel. 

"Avishai was a very motivated student with great learning and social skills," Zeev Twitto told World WIZO. "When he was in the 12th grade he was part of a delegation that visited Israel's President Rivlin for being one of the Israel's outstanding students. Now he is serving in the IDF in the Golani Brigade and met his half-sister for the first time. We couldn't be prouder of him and happier for him."

"As for his time spent at Hadassim, "Twitto added, "Avishai himself has said that there is one Avishai before he came to Hadassim and a totally different one after he arrived at Hadassim. This is yet another example of how WIZO changes lives."

Enjoy this video of Avishai from when he was interviewed as a student at Hadassim as part of the Na'aleh program:

 Translated by Yonatan Sredni