Lieutenant Toby Cohen is the first woman from Nigeria to serve in Israel’s Defense Forces Homefront Command.
Born to a Nigerian mother and Israeli father, Toby and her family lived in Kano, but her love for Israel made her migrate at 17 years old.
As a child, Toby heard so much about Israel and their army from her father, who also served in the Israeli forces.
She also visited her dad’s family in Israel during the Passover and as she got older, her interest in the culture piqued and she decided to build her relationship with her fatherland.
Through a program which sends young people to Israel, Toby joined the Metzar pre-army educational program, where she learned the Hebrew language while her friends intimated her with the society as she experienced the country more.
At first, Toby served as an operations sergeant in the Homefront Command, but was later accepted into the officers’ training course.
She is in charge of all the tutorials of the Home Front Command. She serve as a Deputy Training Officer in Haifa region. These include guidance on how to act during natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires and floods, as well as emergencies such as rocket attacks or the threat of a biological/chemical weapon. She works both with soldiers and civilians, making sure everyone is prepared for the worst.
She told Israel Hayom,
“My mother and my entire family attended the officers’ graduation ceremony. It is very touching to be the first woman officer from Nigeria in the IDF. Obviously I have fallen in love with Israel. This is my home and I see myself continuing my life here.”