TULSA - He had visited Israel many times, since his mom is Israeli, and hadn't really given it much thought, until during a trip to Poland two years ago when he saw the concentration camps.
That brought the reality of the Holocaust home to Gabriel Torianyk, and the recent graduate of Jenks High School tells KRMG the next time he visited Israel, it felt very, very different.
"I got goosebumps on the plane, I couldn't sleep, all I wanted to do was finally just land," he said. "From that moment on, I just felt like Israel was a completely different country. It felt more like my home than anything else."
Torianyk, like all Israelis, will serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
For men, it's a mandatory enlistment for three years; women serve two years.
He plans to attend university after his military service is complete, looking to achieve degrees in computer science and business.
But asked what kind of duty he hopes to get in the IDF, he told KRMG he wants to get a combat assignment.
Still, he's hopeful for peace.
"As an Israeli, I want long-term peace. I want to ensure our country's safety, but yeah - peace is the first thing on my mind."
He admits he doesn't know how that will happen, or what it would look like.
"All we can do is pray and hope for peace, on both sides. No one wants to be in war, no one enjoys this. Both sides, we just want this to stop."