American IDF soldiers celebrate Thanksgiving in Jerusalem
30 Soldiers enjoy Turkey and all the Trimmings
And, for lone American-born Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, missing the familiar sights, sounds and smells of a family turkey dinner, that is the case.
So, for this Thanksgiving, 30 American IDF lone soldiers – from elite combat fighters to office staff - did their best to recreate the warm and secure feeling of a home-spun Turkey Day by coming together at Jerusalem’s American Jewish Committee building where they enjoyed a classis Thanksgiving meal that included two delicious turkeys and all the trimmings.
"These are young people who left behind college educations, careers that they were starting, they made a choice to come to Israel, make aliyah, and to put themselves on the line defending their new country," Edward Rettig, the director of the American Jewish Committee in Israel told the IDF website. "We very much honor that decision they made."
"These are people whose parents and friends are 8,000 kilometers away, so especially on a holiday like Thanksgiving we want to be there for them, give them a really good meal and provide them with a little taste of America," Rettig continued.
This was the 10th annual Thanksgiving dinner hosted by the AJC for American lone soldiers.
And, in a true demonstration of “thanks”, the empty chair that that had been placed for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in past years was not needed this year after his release in October.