Many Israelis put in the occasional few days of reserve duty with the IDF every so often until their 40s. Nahum “Nahche” Gilboa put his time in during Operation Protective Edge as the oldest combat soldier in Israeli history — at 77 years old.
Having first served as a reservist in the IDF’s 1956 Operation Kadesh in the Sinai Peninsula, Gilboa donned the IDF’s green uniform this summer in the Paratroopers Brigade. He’s served in the IDF for a staggering 59 years.
Gilboa, a farmer from Lachish, a community near Kiryat Gat, told Israel’s Channel 2 news he enjoys his time with the younger soldiers, and that reserve duty — and hard work on the farm — help keep him young.
His family doesn’t object, Gilboa said. “It’s part of who I am.”
Gilboa said he has a reserve duty ID card that expires in 2017, and he hopes the IDF will let him renew it.