The Jewish Agency for Israel flew in some 200 parents of soldiers from overseas who are serving in Israeli combat units. Parents of the “lone soldiers” arrived Tuesday and Wednesday for a week-long visit; the soldiers were given leave for the week. The Jewish Agency covered the $480,000 cost of the mission through funds provided by the United Jewish Communities, the North American federation umbrella group. “For some parents this is the first time they will be seeing their child in three or four years,” said Mati Sharfshtein, who runs Keshet, the Jewish Agency program behind the visits. The program has brought 1,200 parents on visits to Israel since it began in 2001.
Lone soldiers’ less lonely