IDF soldiers celebrate Passover with Israel’s leaders

The Chief of Staff and his family held Passover dinner with infantry soldiers of the Golani Brigade who continue protecting Israel even during the holiday. The Minister of Defense expresses his gratitude to the IDF (Zahal)’s lone soldiers

Date: 28/04/2011, 1:49 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and his family ate the traditional Passover Seder with commanders and combat soldiers of the Gideon battalion of the IDF (Zahal)’s infantry Golani Brigade on Monday (Apr. 18). These days the battalion is stationed at and its operations taking place in the Gaza Strip region.

Joining the Chief of Staff and his family were Commander of Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo, Commander of the Northern Division, Col. Ofer Levi and Commander of the Gideon Battalion, Col. Avinoam Stolovitz.

The Chief of Staff praised the soldiers and said words of encouragement to them, expressing his appreciation and adding that, “As citizens of the State of Israel throughout the country are sitting around the table at their homes for Passover Seder, IDF (Zahal) fighters in the air force, at sea and on land stand their ground and take on the mission to keep citizens of Israel safe.” The Chief of Staff added that during, “Army service, everyone gives up a little bit of his personal freedom for the freedom of the entire nation of Israel.”

During the Seder, the Chief of Staff awarded the battalion’s soldiers with a future day of fun and surprised Sgt. Samel Franko Levi by giving him a flight ticket to Peru, a gift from the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS), to visit his mother who he hasn’t seen for many months.

On another IDF (Zahal) base, the main Seder for 380 lone soldiers (whose families live abroad) was held in Givat Olga, sponsored by AWIS, the A.B.S.I. organization, Keren Or or Friends of the IDF (Zahal) in France and in the presence of the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, Commander of the Manpower Directorate, Maj. Gen. Avi Zamir and Head of AWIS, Brig. Gen. (res.) Avigdor Kahalani.

The Minister of Defense turned to the lone soldiers during the Seder saying, “I am so appreciative of you, the lone soldiers who came from overseas and left their families to join the ranks of the IDF (Zahal), to guard the State of Israel and to serve it. Your contribution on the field and at the home front is huge and as far as we are concerned each of you is a member of the IDF (Zahal) family.”