“And Hashem spoke unto Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying: ‘Let B’nei Yisrael keep the Pesach in its appointed season.’” Numbers 9:1-2 (The Israel Bible™)
The week-long holiday of Passover, this year starting on the eve of April 10, commemorates the Israelites’ miraculous exodus from 210 years of enslavement in ancient Egypt. The vast majority of Jews worldwide, and especially in Israel, observe the holiday, which involves many Biblical obligations. Part of observing the holiday includes participating in a festive and ritual-filled Passover meal (seder) and significant dietary restrictions.
Israel’s army (IDF) provides every soldier not only with kosher food all year round but also special ‘kosher for Passover’ food for the holiday. In addition, soldiers who must serve during Passover as well as lone soldiers (soldiers without family in Israel) are given the opportunity to have a seder with their comrades.
“Ensuring that every soldier has what they need to observe the holiday is an intensive process,” told Brigadier General Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only Israeli government and Ministry of Defense-sanctioned organization providing for IDF soldier welfare through donations, to Breaking Israel News. “Yahad is working around the clock coordinating the required food and seders for soldiers.”
The quantity of special Passover food that the IDF has purchased is staggering: 61.5 tons of matzah (unleavened bread), 8.5 tons of fish, 52 tons of chicken, turkey, roast beef and grilled meats, 115,000 schnitzels, one ton of horseradish (which is required for the Passover seder) and two tons of haroset (a specialty food made up of fruits, nuts, wine and cinnamon required for the Passover seder), 120,000 kosher for Passover rolls and 2.7 tons of matzah ball mix. In addition, 8.5 tons of kosher for Passover cakes and cookies have been ordered.
The Military Rabbinate is responsible for kashering (performing a thorough cleaning and purification for Passover) military kitchens in all army units. Soldiers stationed in outposts, observation posts, and pillboxes will receive personal kosher for Passover meals along with the required foods in order to have a Passover seder while they protect the Holy Land.
“This will be the 16th year that Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers sponsors Passover seders for lone soldiers,” continued Gozal. “450 lone soldiers will unite to praise God, not only for redeeming the Israelites from Egypt but also for the miracle that they are part of an Israeli army, an impossibility for thousands of years.”
In a moving pre-holiday ceremony, Chief of the General Staff, Gadi Eizenkot and head of manpower and IDF Spokesperson’s Office, Major General Moti Almoz will meet the lone soldiers personally and offer holiday blessings along with a special Passover gift package.
Every Passover seder guide states, “In each and every generation they rise up against us to destroy us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.” Gozal pointed out to Breaking Israel News that the IDF must always remain on high alert, especially during holidays when the enemies of the Jewish people tend to increase their terrorism.
“Just last week, Israel’s military completed its largest training exercise in the past five years in Judea and Samaria,” he stated. “We must remain diligent and not be fooled by the relative calm that Israel has been experiencing.”
Therefore, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, along with the IDF, is doing all they can to ensure the Holy Land’s safety as well as provide its brave soldiers with a festive Passover holiday. “Passover celebrates the Israelites freedom from slavery,” said Gozal. “We all pray that we will be free from war and terror and be able to live peacefully in the Holy Land. But until that day, we are obligated to provide for the welfare of every IDF soldier.
Donations to Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers may be made here.