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AMIT alumnus Rafael Kroytoro, 21, was among the 120 outstanding soldiers recognized in a special Independence Day ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

Kroytoro, who studied at the AMIT Sderot Religious Junior and Senior High School, serves as a sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces, where he is a military engineer in the Combat Engineering Corps. Since enlisting in the army, Kroytoro said, he has always dreamed of being a military engineer—and he was recently named his brigade’s outstanding soldier.

“Sderot continues to raise wonderful boys and girls, and we see this already from a young age and in the children’s bagrut scores,” said Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, who met with Kroytoro and two other outstanding soldiers from the city. “In the army as well, the people of Sderot excel in their important roles in the different corps. All the city’s residents are proud of this, and salute them.”

Rabbi Amit Orenbuch, the school’s principal, said that, starting in the seventh grade, the yeshiva instills in its students the values of volunteering, helping others and the community, through their connection with the Torah.

“We are proud of Rafael for joining the tradition of excellence in military service among the graduates of the yeshiva,” Orenbuch said.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday honored the 120 soldiers at a special ceremony attended by such dignitaries as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot.

Two years ago, another graduate of the yeshiva, Eliasaf Cohen, was among the outstanding soldiers on Independence Day.

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