Aussie makes Israel’s rugby squad

March 4, 2014 by Hayley Hadassin
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A member of Australia’s victorious rugby team in the 2009 Maccabiah has switched strips…from green and gold to blue and white.

 

Jon Jon in action

Jon Jon in action

Taking the path less travelled is a dream of many Australian youth – but few make this a reality, falling by default into the production line conveyor belt of conformity. Jonathan Levy aka Jon Jon, however, is a rare exception that has not only survived but thrived on his new ascending trajectory – aliyah.

After completing his schooling at Moriah College and degree at UNSW, Jon Jon surprised his friends with the news that he was off to Israel. To them it was a sudden decision, but in his mind it had been brewing for years: ‘I always asked myself how I could give more to the Jewish people’ said Jon Jon. ‘I was always proud to see the responsibility that Israel takes for every Jew in the world and I felt an obligation to be on the giving, not just the receiving end. I knew that I could make a much more significant contribution while I am young, so I decided to pick up my bags and join our nation on the frontlines of history!’

Jon Jon levy

Jon Jon levy

Jon Jon was accepted into a combat infantry unit in the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), where he was invited to try out for one of the most prestigious counter-terror units in the world, on condition that he enlists for longer up front without any guarantee that he would make it through the trials. ‘My parents always taught me that if you are going to do something – you’ve got to do it properly. And once I had come this far, I knew I had to go all the way… I have learnt a lot in my life – but in the army I learnt more than I ever imagined. I learnt the significance of each second, the value of humanity, the definition of friendship and the meaning of the Jewish people’ said Jon Jon.

After the army Jon Jon realized that it was time to serve his people in a different way – ‘Israel is the start-up nation and I wanted to see if I could contribute in the arena of investments and innovation.’ He went on to do an internship with OurCrowd, one of Israel’s leading investment funds in Israeli startups. He currently works for Maverick Ventures Israel Fund, which invests in Israeli technology companies. But Jon-Jon still needed to be physically involved and with his passion for rugby he joined the Jerusalem Lions as soon as he left the army.

In one of his first matches he received Man of The Match and was scouted by a representative of Israel Rugby Union, with an invitation to the next training camp for the international players. After the camp, he was offered a Sports Scholarship for new immigrants. Jon Jon made aliyah last week and will be representing Israel on the international rugby arena in Italy, Spain and Serbia over the next few months.

When asked to reflect on his last few years, Jon Jon’s positive outlook really shines through, ‘I am fortunate to have had such incredible opportunities, doing things I am passionate about, in a place that I love among people who live life to the max!’ When asked what’s next, Jon Jon responds, ‘I can’t predict the future, but in the meantime I’m going to train hard for rugby, work hard in my day job, go to reserve duty when called upon and take advantage of the next opportunity that life presents!’

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