Jerusalem, Israel, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), will provide “Fellowship Gift Cards” as holiday gifts to over 8,000 soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Over the past six years, FIDF and The Fellowship have provided almost $16 million of financial support to soldiers from low-income families.
As part of this support, FIDF and The Fellowship will distribute the “Fellowship Gift Cards” during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, and Passover, accounting for $2.2 million of the $3.2 million allocated for this year. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier.
The Rosh Hashanah gift card, in the amount of $70 per soldier, will allow the soldiers to celebrate the holiday without the burden of financial stress. The gift cards can be used in major retail chain stores across Israel to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure products. Among the soldiers who will receive this financial support will also be 2,800 Lone Soldiers, young men and women who choose to leave their countries of origin to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF. Lone Soldiers come from all corners of the globe to become part of the IDF melting pot and enrich it as well as add to its magnitude.
This past March, Rabbi Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, received a prestigious award from FIDF. FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon presented the award to Rabbi Eckstein at the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner in recognition of his work for the soldiers and the State of Israel.
Rabbi Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, said: “The growing cycle of poverty in Israel affects many soldiers. We appreciate the soldiers who decide to serve the State of Israel and keep us all safe despite the economic difficulties they are experiencing at home. Our goal in sponsoring the ‘Fellowship Gift Cards’ is to enable them to fulfill their obligation to the state while knowing they are fulfilling their obligation to their families as well. Now they can serve with peace of mind while caring for their personal needs and the needs of their families.”
Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, National Director and CEO of FIDF, said: “The State of Israel, Ministry of Defense and all organizations working for the welfare of all soldiers must make every effort to meet their needs. We must enable each soldier to focus on their service, role and mission and not on personal financial problems. We at FIDF believe that their job is to look after Israel and it is our job to look after them.”
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