One Daring — Foolish? — Canadian-Israeli Woman Went to Syria, Joined Kurds to Fight ISIS

By noting the stunning story of Gill Rosenberg at we are not suggesting in any way that she is employed by Israel’s espionage agencies.

Gill Rosenberg (right), apparently with a colleague in "YPJ," a Kurdish women's militia

Gill Rosenberg (right), apparently with a colleague in “YPJ,” a Kurdish women’s militia

Born in Canada, she attended a Jewish high school and learned how to fly aircraft at a technology college in Vancouver. Rosenberg “made aliyah” [immigrated] to Israel and joined the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).  She was an instructor in search-and-rescue techniques.

Rosenberg once told an Israeli interviewer that she tried to join the Mossad — hoping to be involved in covert operations around the world — but was rejected by the spy agency.

Later, according to Israeli officials, she became involved with criminals and took part in a bogus lottery conspiracy that defrauded senior citizens in the United States.  American prosecutors had her extradited, and she served around three years in prison in the U.S.

Gill Rosenberg's photo of Erbil's airport (from her Facebook page)

Gill Rosenberg’s photo of Erbil’s airport (from her Facebook page)

As chronicled on her Facebook page — where she Israelized her name to Gila Rosenberg — she returned to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and reconnected with favorite places and friends.

Obviously a daring woman, she made her way this month to Jordan’s capital, Amman, and then flew to the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq, Erbil.

She must have found it easy there to make contact with Kurdish factions that have fighters in both Iraq and Syria — doing their best to hold back the vicious and relentless forces of the Islamic State (ISIS).

Rosenberg's selfie: on Facebook, she indicates this is in Iraqi Kurdistan

Rosenberg’s selfie: on Facebook, she indicates this is in Iraqi Kurdistan

In a Facebook post on November 9, she wrote: “In the IDF, we say אחריי [achara’i] – After Me. Let’s show ISIS what that means.”

Rosenberg apparently believes she can bring some of the bold spirit of Israel’s army — including the notion that leaders lead at the front and not from the rear — to the Kurdish battle against ISIS.

In Israel, her lawyer told Reuters that going to Syria to fight “is exactly the sort of thing she would do.”

Israeli legal authorities have prosecuted some Arab citizens of Israel who entered Syria to fight against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Some are believed to have joined affiliates of ISIS. Israeli law bans unauthorized travel to “enemy states” including Syria and Iraq. There were no indications from Israel that Rosenberg might face prosecution — if and when she returns from the Syrian civil war.

Syrian Kurds said Rosenberg is the first foreign woman to fly in to join them in their battle against murderous Islamist radicals.

November 11, 2014

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