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60 FIDF leaders from across the U.S. visit Israel to show gratitude for IDF soldiers

Jerusalem, Israel, Over 60 prominent Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) leaders from across the United States embarked on a unique seven-day journey to Israel as part of the FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel to show their appreciation and support for Israel’s soldiers.


The special Leadership Mission, led by National Chairman, Nily Falic, National President, Julian Josephson, and National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, brought national and local community leaders from FIDF’s chapters across the U.S. together with the brave men and women of the IDF. The group met with soldiers and commanders on various military bases across Israel, including the Gaza Division’s headquarters of Re’im, the Intelligence Corps training base, the Regional Division 36 on the Golan Heights, and the Tel-Nof Air Force base, where participants learned from F-15 pilots about the advanced technologies used in Israeli Air Force (IAF) operations. The group also participated in briefings by officers of both the Southern Command and Northern Command of the IDF.



Mission participants had the opportunity to meet with several top-level government and IDF officials, including the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, Head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Chief of the IDF Education Corps, Brig. Gen. Avner Paz Tzuk, the former Minister of Internal Security and former Head of Shabak (Shin Bet), the Internal General Security Service of Israel, Avi Dicter, and former Israeli Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Avi Melamed.



This extraordinary journey throughout Israel culminated with a special FIDF ceremony at the Smolarz Auditorium in Tel Aviv University on November 6, 2013. Hundreds of soldiers and commanders, FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipients, FIDF supporters, and members of the IDF general staff came together for an evening of celebration of and gratitude for Israel's soldiers and the hard work they endure to protect the Jewish homeland and its people around the world.



“The Friends of the IDF delegation which has embarked on this important journey to Israel signifies the deeply rooted connection between the Jewish people, the State of Israel, and the brave soldiers who serve to protect it,” said FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon.

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The Fellowship and FIDF will be granting $3.2 million in financial assistance to over 8,000 IDF soldiers in-need

Every IDF soldier requiring financial assistance will receive a $70 “Fellowship Gift Card” for Rosh Hashanah

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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