(JTA) – A Canadian-Israeli Jewish woman joined Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State.
Speaking from Iraq, Gillian Rosenberg told Israel Radio that she was training with the Kurdish YPG with plans to fight the jihadist group also known as ISIS or ISIL in Syria.
“They [the Kurds] are our brothers. They are good people. They love life, a lot like us, really,” Rosenberg, 31, said in the interview two weeks ago, the Canadian Jewish News (CJN) reported.
Rosenberg was the valedictorian at Maimonides Jewish High School (now King David High School) in Vancouver, from where she graduated in 2001. After taking courses in aviation in Canada, Rosenberg moved to Israel sometime after 2006, CJN reported.
The CJN report said she served as an instructor in an Israeli army search-and-rescue unit.
In 2009, Rosenberg was extradited from Israel to the United States for her involvement in what the FBI called a lottery prize scheme that mostly targeted the elderly, CJN reported. She spent four years in an American prison.
Yahel Ben-Oved, her lawyer at the time, said he was not surprised that Rosenberg had joined the fight in Syria.
“It is exactly the sort of thing she would do,” Ben-Oved told Reuters earlier this month.
The Reuters report noted that while Israel has maintained positive ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, Israeli citizens are barred from visiting enemy states including Syria and Iraq, and the government has been cracking down on Arab-Israelis returning from fighting in those countries.