Second Lieutenant Avi Bari, known to his family who all remain in Guinea as Ibrahima, already enjoys a certain notoriety that he owes to his self-proclaimed status of “the first illegal immigrant to become an officer of the IDF.”
Born in February 1990 in the city of Labé, the Republic of Guinea to Muslim parents, 2nd Lt. Bari was orphaned at a very young age and adopted by his uncle when he was 11. At age 15, armed only with his will to “live a better life”, he decided to travel the 5,500 kilometers from his native Guinea to Israel, his now adopted country.
Crossing the desert in pursuit of good fortune
In 2005, Avi decided to leave his home along with a group of other Guineans. “In Africa, there is no work. I decided to change my life and go to another country,” he explains in the simplest way he can. After a brief stop in Morocco, he arrived at the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where he spent a few days before being driven to the Sinai desert. He then waited for the rest of his group to arrive to Sinai so that they could cross the Israeli border.
“I remember very well the desert. We were in a tent, two boys aged 15 stood guard. It was forbidden to get up the day. We were sent tomatoes, tuna, rice by the smugglers. We made a water filter, because the water was full of earthworms. I will never forget this point in time.
The wait was very long. At one point I started to panic, believing that I was ripped off. But the long-awaited day of crossing the border finally arrived. The smugglers packed us like sardines in a car. Once we got to the Israeli border, the car stopped. We got out and started running. Israeli taxis were waiting on the other side, which drove us directly to Tel Aviv.
For the full article: IDF Blog
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