Lieutenant Toby Cohen is holding a seriously unique record as the only Nigerian woman to have served as a soldier in one of the most dreaded forces of the world – Iseal’s Army.
The 21-year-old was born in Nigeria to a Nigerian mother and an Israeli father. Cohen was living with her parents and sister in Kano, before she migrated to Israel. Cohen said: “I always wanted to come to Israel, ever since I was a small child, I wanted a deeper connection, to understand what ‘Israel’ is, and not just through stories.” Despite the fact that moving to Israel was dream come true for the woman, it was still hard to adjust to the life in another country.
She said: “New immigrants are often embarrassed and ashamed to speak, because they may say something wrong and I was one of them but at some point I realised that I couldn’t go on like this. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and it was hard, but it was worth it.”
The young lady learnt Hebrew and her friends helped her to adjust into the Israeli society. According to Cohen, her father was happy about her decision to become an officer in the Israeli army. The soldier’s father was also an officer in the Israeli army.