PM hosts lone soldiers at his sukkah
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PM hosts lone soldiers at his sukkah

Netanyahu says holiday’s four species symbolize ‘the unity of the people that we need so much’

From left to right:  Cpl. Aleksandra Vodenskov, Sgt. Alexander Sachs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sgt. Eddie Laufer in the prime minister's sukkah in Jerusalem, October 13, 2019 (Koby Gideon/GPO)
From left to right: Cpl. Aleksandra Vodenskov, Sgt. Alexander Sachs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sgt. Eddie Laufer in the prime minister's sukkah in Jerusalem, October 13, 2019 (Koby Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted three lone soldiers — whose families live abroad — at his sukkah in Jerusalem on Sunday, on the eve of the Sukkot holiday.

A statement from the premier’s office said the soldiers were combat engineer Sgt. Eddie Laufer, Cpl. Aleksandra Vodenskov of the Jordan Valley Brigade and Givati Brigade Sgt. Alexander Sachs.

“There are three soldiers here who immigrated to Israel from Australia, Ukraine and Italy to serve in the IDF,” Netanyahu said as they met in the traditional outdoor hut. “I told them that the four species [four plants which are central to the rituals of the holiday] symbolize the unity of the Jewish people — the unity of the people and the unity that we need so much in the country.”

The two recent elections and the political polarization surrounding them have led to much talk by politicians of the need for national unity. Netanyahu himself has been accused by opponents of sundering society into warring camps.

Netanyahu listened to the soldiers’ personal stories and talked to them about their service in the Israel Defense Forces. He also spoke with their families via video link and wished them a happy holiday.

“I would like to take this opportunity to again wish a good year to all citizens of Israel and to the soldiers — men and women — who are serving and defending our state around the clock, not just on holidays,” he said.

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