Lone soldiers of the Southern Command attend field day

IDF (Zahal) salutes and embraces lone soldiers who moved to Israel from around the world to enlist. GOC Southern Command: You are making the Zionistic dream a reality

Date: 12/06/2012, 3:47 PM     Author: Hadas Duvdeavni

Lone soldiers serving in the Southern Command attended a field day this week, thanking them for the contribution and sacrifice. Every September the IDF (Zahal) holds a national appreciation day for lone soldiers in both combat and non-combat positions.

Each soldier at the event comes from different background with a unique story. The majority of the lone soldiers are teens who immigrated to Israel from abroad, some for the sole purpose of joining the IDF (Zahal). Every year, over 300 Jewish teens from all around the world volunteer to elist.

“This is our way of recognizing these soldiers and thanking them for their contribution and sacrifice. Serving as a lone soldier is extremely challenging. Living on their own, these soldiers are completely independent at the age of 18 while also serving as soldiers. This is not taken for granted,” explained head of the Southern Command Individual Welfare Department, Maj. Tzif Asidon-Meimran. “This is just another way the IDF (Zahal) embraces these soldiers. Although we cannot replace their families back home, we do our best.”

The field day is one of many such events held annually in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS) and the Friends of the IDF (Zahal) (FIDF (Zahal)). During a ceremony held at the event, a lone soldier from Brazil spoke, bringing the audience to tears with the dedication he exhibited. Additionally, the soldiers enjoyed a pool, luxurious meals, food stands, paintball games, wall climbing and more. Also at the event were representatives from the Israel Absorption Office specializing in lone soldiers. “We wanted the soldiers to be able to directly contact the people that can help them,” explained Maj. Asidon-Meimran.

“Today is a special day as we thank the soldiers and hope to make them feel at home,” said GOC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo at the event. “Their challenge is doubled from that of any other soldier. The lone soldier must cope with an intensive service without the support of a family,” described Maj. Gen. Russo and added that he believes these soldiers are making the Zionistic dream a reality.