'We make sure every lone soldier has a place for the seder'

IDF holds mass seder for hundreds of lone soldiers, organizer speaks to Arutz Sheva.

Shimon Cohen ,

Pesach (Passover
Pesach (Passover
Nati Shochet, Flash 90

IDF preparations for Pesach (Passover) include making arrangements for lone soldiers. Arutz Sheva spoke with IDF Major Limor Mizrachi, who heads the IDF's Lone Soldier Department.

"Before the major holidays of Pesach and Rosh Hashanah, we make sure every soldier has a place to celebrate. There are a few solutions, including a seder night in the Olga Center, and soldiers' centers which hold group seder nights. There are also hotels, which you can donate to and they'll put lone soldiers up.

"Every IDF commander has to visit his lone soldiers, and see where each one intends to spend the holiday, if they lack anything, or if they need any kind of help. During the two weeks before Pesach, all the human resources staff and commanders work together to make sure every soldier has a place for the holiday.

"We have an extensive 'toolbox' to help us take care of our lone soldiers. In addition to our work finding somewhere for them to celebrate the holiday, lone soldiers receive gift cards prior to holidays."

Mizrachi said there are 6,900 lone soldiers, but the commanders' obligation to visit each one does not disrupt army routines. 420-450 lone soldiers from all units will attend the central seder in Hadera's Givat Olga, together with the Manpower Directorate Head and the the director of Yachad Le'ma'an Hacha'yal (United for the IDF Soldier) organization.

Regarding Givat Olga, Mizrachi said, "The soldiers arrive in the morning and stay until the end of the holiday. They sleep in the vacation areas. An IDF rabbi runs the seder. Personally, I am always moved by seeing all the soldiers together, and seeing how the IDF worries about each soldier personally."

When asked whether some soldiers don't like being with their comrades during the holiday, or don't want to participate in a group seder, Mizrachi said the group seders are very popular, and there is a waiting list.

"Many of the participants come back the next year as well, and the year after that," she said.