Thursday, May 03, 2007
Friends of IDF Launch 'Adopt a Fighter' Initiative
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi officialy approved and adopted the "Adopt a Fighter" project launched by Friends of the IDF at a special event held in honor of Independence Day. In attendance were the heads of companies contributing to the initiative as well as the commanders of battalions also participating in the project.
"The IDF is the people's army," the chief of staff said in his remarks. "It springs from the people, and the defense of the people is the essence of its existence and its purpose. The warm, vibrant link between the people and its army is one of the more important sources of strength and might for the security of Israel, for the IDF, its commanders, and its soldiers."
"Adopt a Fighter" is the signature project of Friends of the IDF in which leading commercial companies in the Israeli economy adopt combat battalions, in the process forming an enriching, helpful partnership between the business sector and the combat battalions. The total annual sum which businesses will contribute will reach NIS 100,000. In addition, the companies promise to contribute identical sums over the next three years. The goal of the initiative is to support and boost conscripts in combat service who for a significant length of time have been engaged in daily fighting, a situation characterized by growing fatigue, an overload of activity, and a high level of risk.
"We are in essence talking about a mutual contribution whose significance is tremendous," said the chairman of Friends of the IDF, General (res.) Yitzhak Eitan. On the one hand, the companies' donation gives the soldiers a sense of belonging, warmth, and caring and, on the other hand, feelings of satisfaction and a sense of giving that the company directors and workers take from this blessed endeavor."
Aside from the monetary donation to the units, the adopting companies are finding various ways to aid the soldiers and strengthen the bonds between the companies and the troops. The bond finds expression through various joint events (recreational activities with the soldiers, sport activities, etc.), adoption of lone soldiers, aid to immigrant and lone soldiers, providing temporary work to soldiers whose families have experienced financial distress, and countless other initiatives launched by both the battalions and the companies.
"This blessed project is one where there is no greater expression of love and gratitude from the nation to its sons, who risk their lives each day and night during tens and hundreds of missions, some of which are not visible to the naked eye, and others which are hidden from it, such as Operation Defensive Shield, which was meant to ensure life and security and to enable the citizens of Israel to uphold their daily routine and live in peace," said the chief of staff. "This great initiative by Friends of the IDF, to which leaders of industry and the economy, trade companies and entrepeneurs from the country and the world have connected, enables us to highlight and praise the value of combat service."
One of the more moving moments of the event was the screening of the film about the project, a clip which featured Or Bar On, who was wounded and lost his legs during the Second Lebanon War. After the screening, Bar On took the stage with his fellow bandmates, who together comprise "Vendetta," to perform their song, "Lifamim" (Sometimes). After the ceremony, the chief of staff said he salutes Or's heroism.
In light of the event, the directors of additional companies signed onto the project, expressing their commitment to adopting six IDF battalions. "With this donation we are strengthening and expanding the 'Adopt a Fighter' family and the fighters," said Varda Drucker, the manager of the project.
18 Million Dollars were raised by Friends of the IDF at the Annual Gala Dinner, which took place at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in NY, on March 28th. More than 1300 business and philanthropic leaders attended the event to show their support for the Israeli soldiers.
Among the wonderful contributions: Mr. Haim Saban donated 3.2 Million dollars, Mr. Harry Gross donated 2 million dollars, Mr. Leo David donated 1.4 million dollars, Mr. Stewart Rahr donated 1 Million Dollar and Mr. Elias Kallimian who gave a million dollar for a house for Lone soldiers in Ramat Gan.
We don’t always notice them; sometimes we forget they exist but the IDF combat soldiers are there all the time to ensure our safety. The least we can do for them is to provide them with pleasant, enriching activities and happiness in their hearts.
In the last six years the IDF combat soldiers have been under tremendous stress. We at the FIDF can help them by supporting them with recreational activities and extra care.
The purpose of the adoption is for a chapter/company/donor to support one or more of 130 combat units of the IDF by funding $25,000 a year for three years per battalion. The funds will be used for different rest and recreation activities and needs.
Cost & Payments: The cost of the sponsorship is $25,000 each year for three years. Payment should be made before the year end or at the very beginning of the year.
Any extra funds will be rolled over to next year’s budget.
The Adoption Includes:
Fun Day - $5,000
Sports Day - $5,000
Event marking end of professional training - $3,500
Event honoring outstanding soldiers - $1,500
Unit celebration of Jewish New Year and Passover - $5,000
General recreation needs - $5,000
To join or volunteer for the FIDF in your area, please visit their wensite http://www.israelsoldiers.org or http://www.fidf.org