Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Netanyahu offers soldier free lift to Canada
By HERB KEINON
Lone soldier hasn't seen parents in a year.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu assumed the role of Santa Claus on Tuesday, giving a free trip to Canada on his airplane at the end of the month to a lone soldier he met while watching an army maneuver in the North.
At the end of the live-fire training exercise, which simulated fighting in a Hizbullah village in southern Lebanon, two soldiers with camouflage paint on their faces and fishnet on their helmets who were cast in the role of Hizbullah fighters, emerged from the boulders and were taken to meet the prime minister.
When Netanyahu asked where the soldiers were from, he was surprised to hear from Yonatan Feder – one of the soldiers – that he hailed from Vancouver.
Netanyahu told Feder he was going to Canada at the end of the month, and would send regards to his family. He then offered to take him along on his plane.
The prime minister wasn’t kidding, and as he was readying to go back to his helicopter a woman from his office approached Feder, who seemed pleasantly stunned by the whole turn of events, and asked for his name, phone number and army ID number. She then turned to his officer and instructed him to arrange a furlough for Feder at the end of the month.
Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to Toronto and Ottawa at the end of May, after going to a meeting of the OECD in Paris to formally accept its invitation to join the organization.
Feder, a Givati soldier who lives on Kibbutz Ein Hashofet with other lone soldiers as part of Garin Sabar, said he had not seen his parents in over a year. He joined the army in December, and said he was completely surprised, and obviously pleased, by the prime minister’s offer.
As Netanyahu walked toward his helicopter, another soldier – not a lone soldier – turned to his friend and said, “That’s a very nice gesture, now what about me?”