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IDF soldier wins NIS 27 million in lottery

Man learns of his good luck upon returning home on weekend leave, plans to save his prize money

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Illustrative: A lotto card from Israel's Mifal Hapayis national lottery. (Flash90/Abir Sultan)
Illustrative: A lotto card from Israel's Mifal Hapayis national lottery. (Flash90/Abir Sultan)

There is at least one person in the IDF who won’t be complaining about his monthly paycheck anymore. A soldier returned home on his weekend leave last Friday to a pleasant surprise — news that he was NIS 27 million ($7.29 million) richer.

The soldier, who lives in the south of the country, purchased a NIS 290 ($81) lottery ticket in Ashkelon on the way to his base, Channel 10 reported. Upon arriving at his family home, he received word that he had won the first prize in Israel’s national lottery — NIS 26 million.

If that weren’t enough, he learned that he had also won the second prize, adding another NIS 1 million to his take.

On Sunday, the soldier showed up with his father at Mifal Hapayis, the lottery headquarters, in Tel Aviv to claim his prize, a giant check for NIS 27,072,404. They wore masks over their faces when posing for photographs with the check.

He has no extravagant plans for the money, the soldier told Channel 10. “My two feet are planted firmly on the ground. I’ll put the money in a savings plan in one of the banks and I’ll make do with the monthly interest,” he said.

He intends to use the interest to pay for his university studies and rent. The young man also promised to take care of his parents and three siblings with the money.

Mifal Hapayis was founded in 1951, based on the Swiss model of a lottery designed to raise money for public projects. It funds schools, hospitals, and community centers across Israel.

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