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Wherever You Stand, You Do Not Stand Alone
December 06, 2013
Dear Friend of Israel,
We see it in the news every day: a new terrorist threat is uncovered, putting security forces around the world on alert. Or a rogue nation like Iran issues another threat against Israel or the U.S. Or the drums of war begin to sound ever louder in some corner of the world.
Yes, as we are reminded so often, the world is a dangerous place – and few places are as dangerous and volatile as the Middle East, where Israel stands as an oasis of democracy and stability in a desert of oppressive, autocratic regimes. Because of this, Israel’s maintenance of a strong, technologically advanced military is absolutely critical a matter of survival.
To do their hazardous work, men and women in the military must not only stay in top physical shape, but peak psychological and emotional condition as well. In Israel, where military service is mandatory, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers face unique challenges in keeping both body and spirit intact. Some of these young men and women are “lone soldiers” who have made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) without any family and have no one to turn to for outside help. Others are from disadvantaged families and need basic financial support or help affording education once they leave the military. Still others may have neither the family nor the financial means to celebrate important Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year).
These are all needs that The Fellowship works to fill through our support of the IDF. In 2013 alone, with the help of our generous donors, we have given more than $4.5 million to programs that provide Israel’s fighting men and women with financial support, educational opportunities, basic needs, and simple amenities that immeasurably improve the lives of those who spend large amounts of time away from home and family. And through our innovative “Adopt a Battalion” program, entire IDF battalions are provided with physical, social, and emotional support.
Officials at the highest levels of the Israeli government recognize the role The Fellowship and our faithful supporters around the world play in filling this critical need. I recently received a wonderful letter from Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s Minister of Defense, that underscored this. “Our soldiers and their families have been blessed with warm and supportive friends overseas,” he wrote. “As you know, our country is dealing with many security challenges and is often suffering from a distorted representation in the media. For those reasons, and many others, the State of Israel is very appreciative of your close friendship and kind assistance that has greatly improved the lives of those who protect its security.”
Supporting Israel’s soldiers will continue to be a key part of The Fellowship’s work. I can think of no better, more direct way to strengthen the Jewish state than by supporting those who venture into danger in order to protect the innocent each and every day. With your help, we can provide them not only material support, but the assurance that, wherever they stand, they do not stand alone.
With prayers for shalom, peace,