Sunday, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) presented the brave men and women serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) with a donation of $8.5 million US dollars. While these soldiers tirelessly defend Israel’s borders from attack – risking their lives to make sure Israel is safe from harm – they often struggle with poverty, as many come from impoverished backgrounds.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein shared, "Unfortunately, the poverty rates that have afflicted so many Israelis have affected our soldiers, as well. I am pleased that the IDF is acknowledging their need and is partnering with the IFCJ to make sure that Israel's bravest are able to serve in peace, knowing that they and their families are being provided for."
IFCJ’s aid will fund many different programs, all of which make sure the soldiers have the basic necessities they need to stay strong and healthy. Thanks to our partnership with the IDF’s Manpower Directorate (AKA) and the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (AWIS), we work together to provide financial assistance for IDF lone soldiers and those who have families in need.
Some of the donation, about $1.4 million US dollars, will provide the soldiers’ families with needed electrical appliances, such as refrigerators, ovens, and other necessary items, through our IFCJ’s Fellowship Funds ("Kupot Yedidut").
Through IFCJ’s partnership with AWIS, 35,000 combat soldiers in basic training will receive vouchers to purchase basic necessities; 10,000 soldiers will receive food and clothing gift cards during the Passover and Rosh Hashanah holidays; and 2,000 soldiers will receive vouchers to purchase the supplementary accessories and supplies that each soldier needs for their uniform.
When Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein met with the head of AKA, Major-General Chagai Topolinski, yesterday in Tel Aviv, Israel, Topolinski thanked IFCJ, saying "IDF is the people’s army and, as such, enlists soldiers from all backgrounds. We take young women and men from impoverished backgrounds and turn them into able soldiers. The IFCJ and IDF are here to give a boost to those soldiers who need it. We are very grateful to Rabbi Eckstein for his expanded aid package.”
During the meeting, the Chairman of AWIS and Keren Libi, Major-General (res.) Yoram Yair (Yaya) said, “I am pleased about the substantial and exceptional contribution from the IFCJ, led by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, which is intended for helping IDF soldiers who come from families in need and lone soldiers. I consider the IFCJ and Rabbi Eckstein as loyal partners in the efforts of AWIS and Keren Libi in caring for the welfare of the soldiers.”
We also thank all of our donors who continually stand with Israel – thanks to you so many soldiers will have the basic necessities they need to continue defending Israel!