A second video posted to Facebook by British-born lone IDF soldier Elisha Levy has gone viral. Last month, his heartfelt clip encouraging gap-year students to stay in Israel despite the current terror wave gained widespread attention. Now, just a few weeks later, another video he shared of an emotional reunion with a former student at a home for people with disabilities is making the rounds on social media.
Levy, 21, told The Times of Israel that while back in London on a weeklong leave from the army on December 15, he stopped in at Kisharon, a school and home for people of all ages with disabilities in Golders Green. Levy began volunteering there when he was 15, and after three years he was hired to be Jewish life coordinator at the facility.
Levy was especially looking forward to seeing a particular young man in his early 30s with whom he had grown close before immigrating to Israel and enlisting in an IDF combat unit. A Kisharon staff member filmed the surprise reunion between Levy and the student.
In the video, the student is seen jumping up on Levy, and wrapping his arms and legs around him in a tight hug. The young man’s joyful response to the unexpected visit from Levy can be heard in his voice.
With the permission of the young man’s family, Levy posted the short clip of the reunion on Facebook.
“After a year and a half away from England I decided to surprise a very close and special friend….his first words were, ‘Is moshiach [the messiah] here then?” as I had explained I was going to fight a war to bring moshiach!” Levy, who comes from a religious background, wrote as an introduction.
“I really just posted this so friends could see it. I had no idea that anyone else would be interested. I didn’t expect such a huge reaction,” the soldier told The Times of Israel.
The Stand With Us Israel advocacy group picked up the video and shared it on its Facebook page, where the clip has racked up 124,000 views since Thursday evening. Mail Online covered the story on Friday, as well.
Levy said that although the virality of his videos was unexpected, their popularity has made him realize that people may be interested in what he has to say, and that he can promote a positive image of the IDF and Israel.
“It’s got me to thinking that I can get important messages out. For instance, Mail Online’s coverage of the latest video is actually an opportunity to show the world that IDF soldiers are not just robots, that we are an army of young people who have lives outside the army, that we give up our normal lives for several years to protect the country,” he said.
Levy, who has a little over a year left in his army service, said that this latest viral video relates to possible plans of his for after his discharge.
“I have a dream to open a huge complex in Israel to serve people with disabilities that would be staffed by young volunteers from within the country and from abroad,” he said.