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Youth to Boost IDF Morale with 20,000 Purim Gifts

Teenagers organize the distribution of 20,000 gift packages to IDF soldiers in honor of Purim.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 3/20/2011, 9:46 PM / Last Update: 3/20/2011, 9:59 PM

IDF

Teenagers in the 'Acharai' program, which encourages leadership skills and IDF enlistment, have organized the distribution of 20,000 gift packages to soldiers in honor of the Purim holiday. The 3,500 members of Acharai will visit IDF bases in person on Monday to hand out the gifts.

The program is in its 13th year. Members of Acharai gathered food items for the gift packages from Israelis around the country.

The distribution will serve two purposes, explained Shmulik Levanon, a senior Acharai organizer. It will encourage the soldiers, and in addition, will help the young members of Acharai. “The project boosts their preparedness for IDF service, and calms their fears,” he explained in an interview with IDF Magazine.

While handing out the gifts, the youth will get a chance to meet face-to-face with soldiers in various units and hear about life in the army. “The direct contact between youth prior to enlistment and IDF soldiers is meaningful, and strengthens unity and involvement in society,” Levanon said.

Acharai is a program for teenagers from the age of 16 up to army enlistment. Counselors in the program encourage youth to develop their confidence and skills, and work to prepare them for quality military service.

"Acharai!" means "follow me!" and is the traditional battle cry of the infantry commander in an assault on the enemy. The IDF always took pride in the fact that its commanders lead their soldiers in assaults, while in Arab armies it was common for officers to direct their men to attack enemy lines while they themselves stayed behind.