Project Spotlight: Strengthening Israel’s Soldiers

The Fellowship  |  January 21, 2020

Head shot of Artum Mastochenko in uniform.

This year, The Fellowship has “adopted” six Israel Defense Forces (IDF) battalions, located throughout Israel. These men and women are the true heroes of the Holy Land, as a soldier’s day is filled with draining, never-ending work. But thanks to our wonderful donors who continue to support Israel’s soldiers, we provide them much needed moral support and assistance. We also provide help for lone soldiers, who don’t have the comfort of family nearby. This commitment remains ever so strong today, especially as security threats along the southern and northern borders of Israel continue. Just ask Artum.

‘Israel Gave Me Everything I Needed’

Artum looks over the surrounding countryside, and says, “Israel gave me everything I needed. It gave me a roof over my head, friends, food, money, everything that a person needs.”

Like so many of his fellow soldiers, Artum holds himself with manner and discipline well beyond his 23 years. This comes as no surprise given his experience.

After making aliyah from Ukraine in 2011, Artum lived and studied at an orphanage. He was then drafted and stationed on a base for new olim (immigrants). Training was hard—especially because he is a lone soldier (a soldier who left behind country and family to serve). Lone soldiers don’t have the same comforts of home as Israeli soldiers. On weekends, holidays and breaks, lone soldiers don’t have the opportunity to unwind or celebrate with family. There is no familiar bed to return to. Birthdays and special occasions come and go without family or old friends nearby.

Despite the challenges of a lone soldier, Artum says he’s never felt alone. He trained alongside new friends, men and women with a common goal of serving their nation.

“Even in the hardest times there are always friends who will jump to protect me, to help me,” he says.

Serving as a paratrooper sergeant stationed at a remote outpost along the Gaza border, Artum relies on his fellow soldiers. They have a rigorous and grueling schedule. In such a hostile environment, they face constant threats and must keep their guard up. Lives are at stake, and they are the country’s line of defense.

Providing for Lone Soldiers Like Artum

Throughout his service, Artum has received support from The Fellowship and its wonderful supporters who stand with Israel and the men and women who serve to protect the people and the nation.

Soldiers usually spend 16 days on active duty and then return home for 5 days. This short break gives them the chance to buy the small comforts not always accessible on base, things like phone cards, snacks, and extra clothing.

Artum says the prayers and gifts of encouragement—like the holiday food cards to lone soldiers—have an immediate and lasting impact.

“You’re always saying thank you to these people. Thank you for the money, for supporting us. Thank you for caring about us. It’s hard to express in words, the wonderful feeling you have for getting something like this because it’s food, it’s clothing and it’s just wonderful,” he says.

Reaffirm your love for Israel by supporting those that stand on the frontlines against terror for the world – the IDF soldiers. Learn how you can support these brave men and women today.