Yom Siddurim for lone soldiers
Yom Siddurim for lone soldiersShahar Azran

Though there are many organizations that help lone soldiers cope, rarely are "fun days" planned and paid for. Even when that does happen, the number of participants is relatively small due to financial constraints.

September 15 saw a change.

A record 5,500 lone soldiers serving in the IDF were treated to a day at Shefayim, Israel's largest waterpark. The day was hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and Yachad Lema'an Hachayal (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers and The LIBI Fund), who were working in partnership with the IDF.

One of the unique elements about today's water park adventure was that it included lone soldiers from all IDF units.

A "lone soldier" is a soldier who has no immediate family in Israel.

Today, there are 6,400 lone soldiers serving in the IDF, from about 80 countries worldwide. The vast majority (880) are American, with Russians and Ukrainians being the next largest groups, at 530 and 520, respectively. 460 lone soldiers are French, and the rest come from various countries around the world.

While the vast majority (68%) of lone soldiers are men, women make up about a third of the group, at 32%.

FIDF aims to support all lone soldiers financially, socially, and emotionally, during their military service and afterwards.

The fun day also included a pool party, smorgasbord, and special programming by Israeli radio personality Didi Harari and singers Static and BenEl Tavori.

IDF commanders, officers, and FIDF supporters also attended the festivities, to meet and personally thank the lone soldier community.