In an effort to show their sense of kinship with the Israeli army, hundreds of gay families across the country have volunteered to host lone soldiers over the holiday period.
The initiative was started by Omer Nachmani, who has helped lead the recent protests urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have same-sex partners of fallen soldiers and terrorism victims recognized as bereaved, as well as help bring about a change in IDF policy that would allow its soldiers to march in Israeli Pride parades.
A soldier is classified as "lone" if they have no immediate family in Israel or if they are not in contact with their families.
Nachmani, himself a reserves officer, published a YouTube video in which several Israeli same-sex Israeli families introduce themselves and invite lone soldiers to celebrate the High Holy Days with them.
Among them are husbands Tal and Itay Berman-Segal and their daughter Alma, who wish to make the holidays more festive for a lone soldier during the holiday season. “We’re great cooks,” they said, promising it will be a nice, familial event.
The initiative comes after the relatively recent series of harsh anti-gay statements made by religious leaders both in and out of the army. Nachmani’s idea helps reaffirm the fact that any family unit—whether it includes two mothers, two fathers, one of each or a single parent—should be considered a normal family with the potential to be loving and generous to others.
According to Nachmani, so far hundreds of gay families have offered to host a lone soldier, while many lone soldiers have already responded by happily accepting the invitation.