Away from their families, these soldiers are supported by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) and Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers and The LIBI Fund). Among other services, the organizations provide funding for lone soldiers to fly home on leave, housing, and fun outings.
"FIDF was founded 36 years ago by Holocaust survivors who had immigrated to America, with the aim of supporting IDF soldiers, as well as wounded and disabled IDF veterans and bereaved families, through a variety of educational and well-being programs," said Maj. Gen. (res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, national director and CEO of FIDF.
"Today, FIDF has 20 chapters and more than 150,000 active supporters. FIDF supporters see their actions on behalf of IDF soldiers as being of the greatest importance, as an investment in the future and security of the State of Israel," he added. "Thanks to generous donations, in 2016 FIDF raised over $118 million for the well-being of IDF soldiers—making FIDF the largest organization in the world supporting IDF soldiers."
To convey how influential the FIDF is, Klifi-Amir said "that during 2016, FIDF supported some 73,000 soldiers during and after their military service, with a range of educational and well-being programs that help soldiers complete formal education, provide scholarships for higher education through FIDF’s IMPACT! Scholarship Program, support lone soldiers including by funding flights for them to visit their families abroad, provide financial assistance for disadvantaged soldiers, support families that have lost loved ones who were serving in the military, help injured and disabled IDF veterans, adopt eight brigades and 66 battalions, squadrons, and flotillas as part of the Adopt-A-Battalion program, and build soldiers’ homes, infrastructures, and rest and recuperation centers across the country. All of these contribute to the morale and spirit of the soldiers—by showing them that there are people who look out for them, identify with them, and stand by them, despite their being thousands of miles across the ocean."
Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal, meanwhile, "is the main entity providing well-being activities for IDF soldiers," according to chairman Maj. Gen. (res.) Yoram Yair.
"Today, all contributions to IDF soldiers and units are channeled through Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal, which operates on the principle that 100 percent of every donation goes entirely to its objective," he said.
"Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal leads dozens of projects for the well-being of IDF soldiers, operates 10 soldiers’ homes around the country that accommodate some 2,000 soldiers every night, and has 100 apartments nationwide that are home to 600 soldiers.
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