The Gesher group for religious-secular unity passed out Purim gifts of food (mishloach manot) to soldiers this week in a unique approach to the “sharing the burden” debate.
Young Gesher members decided that rather than condemning those who do not serve in the IDF, the focus should be on thanking and encouraging those who do choose to serve.
The gifts were handed out to hareidi-religious and Bedouin soldiers. The soldiers expressed pleasure at receiving the unexpected gifts, describing the gesture as “touching.”
“It’s heart-warming to get mishloach manot from all of Israeli society,” they said.
The soldiers will be staying on base over the holiday. They were happy to hear that their contribution to Israel’s security had not been forgotten, particularly at a time when tensions are high between the hareidi-religious world and other sectors in Israeli society.
Ilan Gal Dor of Gesher said, “Everyone is talking about ‘equality in the burden’ [of military service – ed.]. In our activities, too, religious and secular youth bring up the question of how to contribute on this topic.”
“It was the youth who came up with the initiative to strengthen ‘share in the burden,’” he continued. “They wanted to do something ‘for,’ not to protests ‘against’ at some demonstration.”