Rivlin meets with mothers of lone soldiers
Rivlin meets with mothers of lone soldiersHaim Zach/GPO

A delegation of 29 mothers of active IDF “Lone Soldiers” is visiting Israel as part of a special Momentum Journey (formerly known as the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project – JWRP), in partnership with The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Nefesh B’Nefesh.

On Thursday, the delegation met with Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, at the presidential residence in Jerusalem.

The President said he was excited to meet the mothers and thanked them for the fact that, despite the difficulties, they sent their sons and daughters to defend Israel and its borders.

"Your children are not really lone soldiers, because they are with us. My home is always open to them and every holiday Nechama and I always hosted lone soldiers at our table. We say, ‘On your walls, Jerusalem, I have stationed guards’. Your children are the guards, and not just of Jerusalem."

The trip was planned by Momentum as both an emotional and bonding experience between the mothers and their children and to highlight the growing role of the Diaspora in serving in the Israeli military. The mothers will be traveling to Israel from the USA, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

The mothers of Lone Soldiers were joined by a delegation of Israeli mothers from Poreshet, a community for IDF women retirees whose children have also served in the Israeli Army.

By experiencing Momentum alongside Jewish women from around the world, Israeli mothers can help them better understand Israeli culture and the society in which their children are now immersed.

“The Lone Soldiers of today are in many ways modern-day heroes of the Jewish people who have chosen to demonstrate their Zionism in a very practical yet selfless way,” says Momentum Founder Lori Palatnik.

“But it is critical for us to remember that it is their parents who are joining them in this call of duty and this special visit gives us the chance to salute the role of the mothers in their children’s experience.”

For many of the mothers, this trip is their first introduction into the Israeli army culture, and this trip will allow them to better understand why their children chose to make Aliyah and serve in the IDF.

"While I never thought my daughter would join the army and would even admit that initially I tried to talk her out of it, today I can say that I have never felt more proud,” said Dalia Khakshoor of Great Neck, New York. Dalia’s daughter, Maayan, enlisted in 2018 and is currently serving in Search and Rescue of the IDF, and was awarded a Certificate of Excellence on Israel’s Independence Day.

Enlistment of Lone Soldiers in the IDF has become an increasingly popular way for young Jews to show their passion for Israel. With the full support of the IDF, Nefesh B’Nefesh established a Lone Soldiers Program, which assists and supports these young men and women who choose to enlist throughout their service. Momentum has partnered with Nefesh B’Nefesh for this historic delegation.

“We have tremendous admiration, not only for the courageous Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF, but for their incredibly dedicated parents as well,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“These young men and women are protecting our country round the clock, while their parents send support and encouragement from afar. Through this mission, we now have the opportunity to bring them together in person and show our appreciation.”

First launched in 2009, Momentum quickly grew into a movement, welcoming over 17,000 Jewish women and men to experience its year-long journey of self-discovery and to empower women to change the world through Jewish values that transform themselves, their families, and their communities.