Lone American immigrants serving in the Israel Defense Forces joined the American Jewish Committee last Thursday for a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner at the organization’s offices in Jerusalem.
This is the ninth year in the row the organization has conducted the event, which featured roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Dr. Ed Retting, acting director of AJC Jerusalem welcomed the soldiers with special words of praise. "There is a group of people here in Israel who have not been drafted to the army but rather have voluntarily put themselves in harm's way on behalf of the Jewish People and the State of Israel," Retting said. "It is never easy being away from family during the holidays and it is with gratitude that the AJC is able to present a turkey to give thanks to you, for the work you are doing."
About 30 IDF soldiers from several different units attended the affair.
One seat was set aside for missing IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in a cross-border raid from Gaza on June 25, 2006. The soldiers raised their glasses in a toast to Shalit, who is still being held hostage in the region by Hamas. His exact whereabouts and condition remain unknown.