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From the police pistol to the starting pistol: one woman's fight to the top

Being in the undercover unit of the Israeli police force gave her the drive needed to be a professional cyclist

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Leah Goldstein

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Leah Goldstein doesn’t need to watch Fauda. She has already lived the stuff of the hit TV show.

Goldstein became the first woman to graduate from the training program for the Belush, the undercover unit of the Israeli Police Force. By the time she walked into the classroom, she would later learn, her superiors had taken bets on how many hours she would last in the program.

She had already completed her term in the military as a Krav Maga fighter, eventually becoming a martial arts instructor for the commando forces. Prior to starting her military service in Israel, she was already a Canadian champion in both Tai Kwon Do and Kickboxing as a teen.

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That new police colleague who pinched Goldstein’s butt, as she climbed the stairs at her very first assignment, quickly learned he was risking his own life trying to mess with Goldstein.

Undercover police investigations is an intense, but brief career for all who undertake it. Goldstein’s autobiography recounts her very first day on the job. She chased an international drug dealer, who just happened to be twice her size, into an abandoned six-story building only to realize, when she was about to arrest him, that she had lost her service revolver during the chase.

Leah Goldstein - Racing Life & Commandos | Youtube

Every day that followed was equally as dangerous. Responding to code red threats, seeing colleagues die, and finding her own name on a list of terrorists’ targets, caused Goldstein the extreme stress she expected.

She knew she could respond to that stress with two things the characters of Fauda don’t have: a history as a world-class athlete and a bike. Eventually, cycling became her first love and the police service gave her a part-time release to pursue a career in cycling. It was an obsession that lead to a career as a professional cyclist in both Europe and North America.

In 2005, disaster struck in the form of a cycling crash. Doctors said she would never get on a bike again. She proved them wrong.

Goldstein and another trainee at the training camp

 

“You have a choice,” Goldstein said in a recent telephone interview from her home in Vernon, B.C. “The hardship we experience tend to stay there for us to use as an excuse, so we don’t have to move forward. But other people don’t care about the hard stuff you’ve been through, they care about what you do to recover. Be as positive as possible.”

Her 2015 autobiography, No Limits, set out Goldstein’s story of multiple recoveries and challenges.

Although, in 2019 she decided there were more chapters of her autobiography to write, and came out of retirement — at the age of 50 — to compete in a 3,000 mile cross-country extreme endurance cycling event, Race Across America (RAAM). In January of 2020, she pledged to do it yet again, but this June’s event was cancelled.

Goldstein with fellow officers

“I am still out training for 5 to 15 hours a day, and I will be ready to race in July 2021 if the borders are open. Last year, I was 50, and out to set a record, so my training now is very strong because of that.”

Goldstein won’t just be competing against other cyclists in Race Across America 2021. She will also be giving Fauda some competition. The No Limits Documentary by director Tucker O’Neil is upcoming, and a film of Goldstein’s autobiography is under consideration.

“You don’t stop living when you’re still alive,” Goldstein says. “After I wrote the book, I felt like there was something missing from my life. Coming out of retirement gave me back what I was missing,” he said

Leah Goldstein - Leah Fights Sexism | Youtube

“I didn’t have a special gift in anything when I was a little kid,” Goldstein says. “Doctors told my parents I would never be an athlete, but I never used it as an excuse. Rather than make excuses, I fought back. I was never aggressive, I was just unafraid. I had the gift of work. It’s really all any of us have.”

Kate Baggott is a mother, author, research consultant.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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