IDF soldiers (illustrative)
IDF soldiers (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

A Haifa-based organization has set a goal of providing lone soldiers in the city with a home away from home. The group, People in Blue and White, gives the soldiers food, a place to meet on the Sabbath, and a listening ear.

Coordinator Tziona Axelrod told Arutz Sheva that there are roughly 6,000 IDF “lone soldiers,” as the IDF calls soldiers whose parents do not live in Israel. Lone soldiers come from around the world, including the United States, South Africa, France and Russia.

Those living in Haifa are primarily from the former Soviet Union, she said. Many are Jewish, and many more have Jewish ancestry and are undergoing conversions to Judaism through the IDF.

“We invite them for meals on Shabbat, and give them food,” she said. “They come here to rest and to talk to us about whatever is bothering them. We go visit them, and come to the various ceremonies.”

When she says ‘here,’ she is referring to the organization’s new building on Nordau Street in Haifa.

After the soldiers complete their service, she added, the group assists them in getting accepted to university.

Axelrod praised the young soldiers as idealists. “They’re really a quality group, most of them serve in combat, and give a lot to the country. But they wanted to serve in the army to connect to the Jewish people. Some came from places where there was no trace of Judaism," she said.