(March 31, 2020 / JNS) More than 1,000 U.S. natives serving as lone soldiers, those who join the Israel Defense Forces with no immediate family in Israel, have been among the thousands of IDF soldiers that have been ordered to remain on base for an indefinite period of time to minimize their exposure to the coronavirus pandemic.
As such, they will not be home with their families for Passover.
Passover begins at sundown on April 8 and ends at nightfall on April 16. (In Israel, the holiday is celebrated for seven days, ending at nightfall on April 15.)
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has implemented programs to address the emergency needs of soldiers quarantined on bases and at home.
Its staff in Israel is distributing hygiene kits, yoga mats, gym equipment, packages of snacks and more to soldiers, and is working closely with the IDF to support their well-being and needs as the situation progresses.
“I think there’s no denying that it’s a scary time right now, and that the ultimate source of comfort is being with family,” said lone soldier Pvt. Juliana from Los Angeles, who serves in the IDF Foreign Relations Unit. “While it’s tough to be so far away from my family right now, I’m grateful for my amazing community of friends here in Israel and for all the support I receive.”
FIDF has also established a dedicated information center for lone soldiers and their loved ones, as well as a special quarantine facility in the Givat Olga recreation center in Hadera to provide the best care and attention to their needs.
“While unfortunately, we won’t be able to have our son with us for Passover this year, we know that he is staying safe and is in good hands with the IDF,” said Jordana, the parent of lone soldier Ari from Michigan.
“When we first sent him to serve as a soldier in the IDF we knew there was a chance he would find himself on the front lines of a battlefield, but frankly, we could not imagine that we would be on the same front lines of this global-scale battle,” she said. “We can’t wait to have him back home with us next year for Passover.”
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