Tony moved from Venezuela to Israel at the age of 16. When he turned 18 he became an Israeli citizen and enlisted in the IDF. Tony served as a lone soldier in the Golani Brigade. As a combat soldier, Tony fought in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. A few months before his release from the IDF Tony began his journey with Wings. Tony says, "I immediately understood that I needed this help."
Tony Raichler was born in Caracas, Venezuela where he grew up in the Jewish Community and a Masorti home. At the age of 16 Tony felt that he did not belong in Venezuela. He told his father that he wanted to move to Israel and asked his father how he could do so. Tony's father recommended he come to Israel through the Jewish Agency's Na'ale Program where he would finish high school and then choose whether to remain in Israel and serve in the IDF.
In January 2009, during the heart of Operation Cast Lead, Tony arrived in Israel with a group of South American youngsters. Though his father is Israeli, Tony came to Israel knowing almost no Hebrew. After completing high school Tony decided to become a citizen and join the IDF. He lived together with most of his class from Na'ale on Kibbutz Yizrael for the entirety of his army service.
Tony served as a lone soldier in the Golani Brigade. He served as a combat soldier for the full 3 years of service. Tony fought in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, notably one of toughest experiences he has been through. His Unit Commander was injured and he lost 3 friends.
Tony sees Operation Protective Edge as a piece in the bigger picture. "Life in Israel is difficult," he says, "Like any minute the ground can fall out from under us." Still, Tony sees his future in the State of Israel.
Tony's experience with Wings began with the 5 day workshop prior to his release from the IDF. "I went to the course immediately after Operation Protective Edge," Tony recalls, "There they explained to me what I would experience after my release from the army, things that Israelis know and also my rights as a lone soldier and new immigrant. I also met with my personal advisor, Anat and immediately understood that I needed this help. I understood that the program could help me find my direction as a citizen in Israel."
Tony did the occupational testing with Wings and says that, "afterwards my Wings advisor, Anat, helped me decide what I should study. Wings also helped me understand what scholarships are available to me. I am still in touch with Anat today and am continuing the advising process."
Tony also met with the Wings financial advisor, Tzvika. They are still in touch and Tony says, "He always knows how to help. He has opened the door to job opportunities. He has been a dominant source of help with some of the hardest things for a lone soldier to deal with alone like managing finances."
Tony was released from the army in November, 2014. He plans to begin studying this October and is deciding between PR and communications.