IDF soldiers salute their fallen comrades. (Nati Shohat /Flash90) (Nati Shohat /Flash90)
IDF soldiers salute their fallen comrades. (Nati Shohat /Flash90)

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A group of Israelis wants to ensure that fallen lone soldiers are properly honored, with the participation of family, friends and community. 

Israel’s Lone soldiers, volunteers who leave their families abroad and come to Israel to serve in the IDF, are never alone. There are several projects that ensure that the soldiers have a home in Israel, wherever they are.

A group of Israelis has now taken it upon themselves to care for those lone soldiers who fell in the line of duty.

Since declaring its independence, many Jewish soldiers from all over the world have died while defending Israel. Ofer Inbar, Sagi Kiezler and Tzvi Koslowe have founded the “All for One” foundation, which seeks to ensure that these brave young men and women are memorialized in their respective communities around the globe.

The State of Israel holds official annual ceremonies throughout the country honoring and commemorating its fallen soldiers. In many instances, the families of these brave soldiers cannot afford the yearly travel to Israel and therefore do not participate in the official ceremonies.

The foundation seeks to establish ties with these communities around the world to hold memorial ceremonies identical to those held in Israel. Such events could also include many more participants than just immediate family and close friends of the fallen soldiers.

Inspired by Personal Example

The inspiration for this project, they say, comes from the personal example set by the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

In the days preceding the first memorial for Daniel Haz, a lone soldier who was killed during the First Lebanon War in 1982, his sister Judith wrote that she intends to visit Israel and Daniel’s grave on that very important date. In response, Begin invited Haz’s entire family to Israel for the occasion and personally funded it.

Currently, Israel funds the travel for one parent only on an annual basis, and the immediate family’s airfare is paid for by the state every five years. “All for One” is acting to change the legislation.

Unfortunately, Israel has recently lost several lone soldiers. There was an impressively large  turnout at the funerals of lone soldiers Shawn Carmeli and Shlomo Rindenow.

The foundation president is Colonel (retired) Tzvika Levy. Known as “the father of the lone soldiers,” he headed a program for them for 25 years until he developed muscular dystrophy.

Upon hearing of the foundation’s agenda, he was inspired to join their efforts and took it upon himself to serve as its president.

“In recent years we have seen how the entire country has rallied to accompany the lone soldiers killed in combat on their last journey. Now it is time to show that the love and the appreciation we have shown the parents of the Lone Soldiers when they requested that we attend the funeral can also be exhibited toward their friends and community, who have also lost someone dear to them,” Koslowe told United with Israel. “The community sent their youth to defend us, and now we wish to repay them. This is the least we can do.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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