update deskIsrael at War

Passover 2024

IDF lone soldiers reunited with their families ahead of Passover

"I would like to thank the wonderful parents who sent their children to defend our country," said Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer.

IDF lone soldiers and their families reunite alongside Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer (left), Jewish Agency chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog and Jewish Agency CEO Amira Ahronoviz in April 2024. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi.
IDF lone soldiers and their families reunite alongside Israeli Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer (left), Jewish Agency chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog and Jewish Agency CEO Amira Ahronoviz in April 2024. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi.

Ahead of the Passover holiday, the Israeli government, in partnership with Jewish organizations, has reunited “lone soldiers” serving in the Israel Defense Forces with their families who live abroad.

Under the slogan “Together for Seder,” family members from the United States, France, Brazil, Ukraine and Belgium were flown into the Jewish state.

The soldiers will spend the coming days reuniting with loved ones, some of whom haven’t seen each other in years. On Tuesday evening, the second day of the holiday, they will gather for a joint Passover seder.

“Together for Seder” is an initiative of Wings, a joint program of the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and the Merage Foundation. The initiative has assisted thousands of immigrants in preparation for their recruitment, during their military service and up to about five years after their release.

A get-together at the Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem on Thursday was held in the presence of Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer and Jewish Agency chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Doron Almog.

“I am very excited to salute the lone soldiers and their families who came from all over the world,” said Sofer. “The fact that these heroes left their homes, studies, family, and work to come and be part of the IDF symbolizes their moving connection to the determination and devotion of the Jewish people for generations.

“I would like to thank the wonderful parents who sent their children to defend our country and, above all, instilled in them the necessary values to do so,” added the minister.

Almog noted that lone soldiers “are a symbol of unconditional love for the State of Israel. They choose to tie their fate with the fate of the country, go out and fight and be an integral part of the war for our existence.”

French immigrant Gamliel, 28, was among the troops honored on Thursday. The lone soldier fought for 160 days in Gaza alongside his brother, and Seder night will mark their first family meeting in six years.

“My parents had a difficult five months, to say the least,” Gamliel said. “With two sons serving in the depths of Gaza, we weren’t in touch with them for weeks. We talk a lot about the situation in Israel and the situation in Paris, and now we will finally sit together face to face.”

Each year, approximately 3,000 immigrants without family in the Jewish state volunteer to serve in the IDF. Throughout the military’s ongoing “Operation Swords of Iron,” the Wings program provided them with support and assistance in a variety of areas.

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