On the Fast Track to Military Intelligence

Completing both her BA and MA in record time, Dawn Bachar is headed for officer training and intriguing IDF service.

Dawn Bachar, from Eilat, feels like a pioneer. “I’m the first in my family to study for an academic degree,” says the 20-year-old BIU fast- track student who has just completed both her BA (Communication and Political Studies) and MA (Military Intelligence, Political Studies) in a record three years! Enrolled in the Israel Defense Forces’ Atuda  (Academic Reserve) program, Dawn will soon attend an officer training course prior to beginning six years of IDF service in Intelligence.

The army gave me three years to finish my BA. But I also wanted to do BIU’s MA track which focuses on cyber, Islam, the Mideast, and homeland security.” Bright and highly motivated, Dawn received special permission from the university to start the competitive political studies graduate program before obtaining her BA. Many of her former classmates are in their 30s and serve in high security fields. Only a third of them are women.

I want to serve my country in intelligence,” says Dawn who already did one month of basic training during summer vacation. “Through my future work in the IDF, I can contribute to the defense of the State of Israel.”

In the meantime, Dawn has enjoyed  her academic pursuits. “I wanted to specialize in a discipline that encourages me to explore and think out-of-the-box. Our lecturers required us to develop good arguments and debate – skills that will help us in life.” Describing the staff as “warm and welcoming,” she makes special mention of the supportive academic coordinator of her MA program Dr. Ephraim Lapid, former IDF spokesperson and a leading authority on public and military affairs. “It was great knowing that there is such a nurturing environment here at BIU.”

In the future, she aspires to be an IDF spokeswoman like another BIU alumna, Miri Regev (now a Member of Knesset). She might also consider working in the Israeli Foreign Service, or as an emissary (shaliach) to a Diaspora Jewish community.

While she enjoys Eilat’s ubiquitous sunshine (and Vitamin D), she feels  there’s much more opportunity and cultural happenings in the center of Israel. “Today most of my friends are from Bar-Ilan and I just love the cultivated and tranquil BIU campus grounds,” relays Dawn who resided in neighboring Givat Shmuel and “commuted” to the university on an electric bike.

Having just finished her intense BA-MA studies at BIU and awaiting her induction into IDF Intelligence, she notes that her father (a phone technician) and her mother (a secretary) are very proud of her achievements. “Thanks to their encouragement and support, I have succeeded.” As to her siblings, they look up to her as a model and pathblazer.