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September 19, 2013 - Image 95

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-09-19

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eitai I Advertorial

Israel's Soldiers. Our Family.

The

Importance of El 1 DP'

riends of the Israel Defense Forces
(FIDF) is a nonprofit organization
dedicated to the wellbeing of Israel's
young soldiers as well as wounded veterans
and the families of fallen soldiers.
FIDF was established in 1981 by a group
of Holocaust survivors, a pillar of American
support for the IDF, just as the first prime
minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, had
envisioned. These days, the organization
operates 15 regional offices throughout the
United States and Panama.
FIDF's projects and programs touch on
numerous aspects of the soldiers' lives.
FIDF's education programs, for example,
focus on various communities within the
IDF, helping them advance in the army and
opening doors for their future. One such
program is the IMPACT! Scholarship Program,
which provides former combat soldiers from
low socio-economic backgrounds four-year
scholarships, enabling them to acquire a
higher education. Recipients are also required
to provide 130 volunteer hours per year of
school. Thus far, IMPACT! has seen more than
3,000 graduates with its students providing
more than 2 million hours of community
service.
"Knowing that dear people with warm
hearts abroad," said IMPACT! scholarship
recipient Maro Geta, who's studying
medicine, "cherish our contribution and our
service in the army, and are willing to give us
this scholarship, it really warms our hearts. It
gives us power to go forward."
FIDF also touches on soldiers' general
wellbeing with programs like DIGNITY, which
provides assistance to soldiers in need. One
out of five soldiers is in need of financial
assistance, with 3,000 soldiers eligible for
welfare funds because of their parents' low
income. FIDF provides as many as 8,000

FRIENDS OF THE IDF
7"ilY

F

FRIENDS OF THE IDF

1

"

anti 1111Y 11111

F

meals, financial grants for starting a life in
Israel, flights to visit their families and more,
reminding them that despite the distance
from family and their countries of origin, they
are truly never alone.
"I know that the slogan of FIDF is Their Job

soldiers with food vouchers, financial grants,
purchase of basic appliances like stoves and
beds and more every year, so they can focus
on their mission knowing their families are
taken care of.
Another community of soldiers FIDF assists
is its brave Lone Soldiers, who've left their
families and everything they know to make
aliyah and serve in the IDF. For these soldiers,
as many as 2,800 serving at any given time,
service is even more challenging. FIDF offers
an array of assistance such as gift packages,
places to celebrate holidays and Shabbat

is to Look After Israel. Ours is to Look After
Them," said Cpl. Brandon Berry, Israeli Navy

Lone Soldier, "but you know it's really true —
they honestly take care of us. It means a lot."
FIDF helps IDF soldiers in a multitude of
ways, never forgetting wounded veterans
and families who've lost a loved one during
their IDF service as well. Its support touches
the lives of thousands throughout Israel,
reinforcing the powerful bond between the
Jewish community in the U.S. and the State of
Israel through the support of its soldiers.
The IDF soldiers look after Israel. It is our
duty to look after them.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

P.O. Box 999, Walled Lake, MI 48390
P: (248) 296-4110 F: (248) 863-3138
michigan@fidf.org , www.fidf.org

September 2013 •

Chai Israel Magazine 23

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