Project Spotlight: Helping Lone Soldiers in the IDF
The Fellowship | June 6, 2023
The Fellowship approved a grant earlier this year for three homes for IDF soldiers from the ultra-Orthodox community, and one of these homes was recently renovated and can house 23 soldiers. One soldier, Matias, tells us his story of how much it means to be living in one of these homes.
Giving Him Strength to Continue
“I came to Israel for the first time at the age of eight. I remember that I fell in love with the country. And even then, I said that when I grew up, I wanted to make aliyah to Israel and protect the country by serving in the IDF.”
That’s Matias who is now 19 years old and is living out his dream of serving in an elite unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). But his journey to be a soldier fighting to protect the Holy Land hasn’t been easy, especially because he is considered to be a lone soldier. This means all his family is back home in Argentina while he is in Israel. And he is learning to navigate his adult life for the first time in a new country.
“I underwent difficult training exercises and what made it even harder was not having the support of my family nearby,” explains Matias. “I didn’t have a home to return to on the weekends when I could leave the base. During the first month I simply did not leave the base on weekends because I had nowhere to go.”
This was earlier in his training; today his situation is totally different. He’s found Fellowship friends to help him by finding him a place to live. Today, he’s found a community of support through Fellowship provided soldier homes for soldiers in the ultra-Orthodox community. “This home is more than a place to sleep, it gives me strength to continue. My friends here have become my family; we are all one big family,” he says.
“I don’t know what I would have done if this place did not exist. I might not have been able to complete my army service. Thank you to all those who supported the building of the ultra-Orthodox soldier homes.”