IDF reservist on leave scoops up millions after hitting lottery jackpot

Lucky winner plans to donate part of NIS 20 million prize to charity, after filling out ticket during leave from prolonged service in unit

A 40-year-old IDF reservist soldier won the Mifal HaPais lottery draw that took place on Tuesday, November 28, earning a prize amounting to NIS 20 million ($ 5.4 million). The soldier went on leave from his reserve service, during which he filled out the form that secured him the grand prize. He arrived at Mifal HaPais’ headquarters two days after the draw to confirm and collect his winnings.
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The winner made Aliyah to Israel in the 90s for ideological reasons and settled in the central part of the country. He raised a family and works in the finance industry. He said following the announcement of his prize that he has decided to donate part of the sum to charity.
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חייל מילואים זכה בהגרלת לוטו ב20 מיליון ש"ח
חייל מילואים זכה בהגרלת לוטו ב20 מיליון ש"ח
IDF reservist holding check for his prize
(Photo: Mifal HaPais)
"I fill out lottery forms only when the prize pool is exceptionally high," he noted. "So, I end up filling out a form no more than five or six times a year, investing no more than 30 shekels in each form."
A week after the start of the war against Hamas, the winner was drafted into reserve service and was away from his family for an extended period. "On the day of the draw, I went on leave in the evening. On my way home, I passed by a lottery booth and saw the amount of the first prize. Something in me made me stop and fill out a form. I can't exactly explain why, but I had a feeling in my gut that right now, this was what I was supposed to do, and that's how it happened. I filled out a form with 10 lines, and I chose the numbers completely randomly, without thinking too much or giving them any personal significance."
He added, "The next day I was busy with my routine, and completely forgot that I filled out a lottery form. I remembered that I had a form in my wallet only when I passed by the booth near the lottery booth again, and this time I saw that the prize dropped to five million shekels. I realized there was a winner, and I even thought to myself that it was me."
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ארה"ב לוטו הגרלה Powerball 1.08 מיליארד דולר זוכה יחיד
ארה"ב לוטו הגרלה Powerball 1.08 מיליארד דולר זוכה יחיד
(Photo: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
The winner checked his form on Wednesday evening. "My wife is currently busy with volunteering work. She comes home exhausted and tends to go to bed relatively early. While my wife entered the bedroom, I checked the lottery form by myself.
“The form actually contained two wins – the first prize (NIS 20 million) and the second prize (NIS 10 million). I immediately jumped off the couch, ran to the bedroom to make sure my wife was still awake, approached her, and kissed her. She opened her eyes and was very confused.
“I told her I had good news. 'I want you to check the lottery form; there's a chance we won.' My wife rushed to the Mifal HaPais website, and together we went through the tables on the form. First, the table that won 10 shekels appeared, and my wife told me, 'Are you keeping me up for only 10 shekels?' Very quickly, she noticed I guessed all the numbers correctly – and that I was the sole winner in the draw," he explained.
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טופס לוטו
טופס לוטו
(Photo: Shutter Stock)
The winner said neither he nor his wife could sleep after they confirmed he won. “We sat and talked about what to do. My wife asked me what was the thing I wanted the most right now. The only thing that came to my mind was that I wanted to buy myself a new mobile phone because the current one is already battered, and I've been postponing the purchase for weeks. I realized that I already have the most important things in life – an amazing wife, successful children, a home, and a job. We lack nothing.”
Ultimately, together with his wife, the winner made a decision. "I feel that I was chosen to do good, so part of my winnings will go to charity. The rest we will deposit in a savings account. We don't intend to pay off the mortgage, and at the moment, we don't plan to tell anyone about the win, not even our children.”
“Everything is still raw, and the overall situation in the country isn’t simple. I don't feel that it's the right time to go on a dream vacation or buy a flashy property that attracts attention; it's just not for me," he added.
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