Partnering with others, the organization is supporting travel for parents of Lone Soldiers who are in active combat or injured.
NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Jewish National Fund-USA has committed $1 million toward a $3 million fundraising goal to establish a fund to support the travel and accommodation needs of the parents of Lone Soldiers in Israel. Known as “Operation Hug,” the initiative was established in partnership with Nefesh B’Nefesh and the Center for Entrepreneurial Jewish Philanthropy (CEJP).
Lone Soldiers are young people who made aliyah (immigrated back to their ancestral homeland, Israel) and are serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) who do not have family support in Israel, usually because the soldier comes from another country. Currently, about 5,000 lone soldiers from around the world serve in combat units in the IDF.
Parents are anxious to be present in Israel at this moment both as a sign of support for their children and out of concern of them being injured or worse. The new emergency fund aims to provide at least 800 roundtrip airline tickets for one parent of any Lone Soldier serving in an active combat unit during Operation Swords of Iron from anywhere in the world. Of these tickets, 200 will be reserved and available for a family member of any Lone Soldier injured.
Furthermore, Nefesh B’Nefesh will utilize its network of olim (immigrants to Israel) to house parents who may be in need and defray the cost of hotel accommodations.
Rose Barlow, co-Chair of Jewish National Fund-USA’s Nefesh B’Nefesh Task Force and Board Member of Nefesh B’Nefesh, shared, “I am very proud of the ongoing initiatives we take to support these young men and women who leave their families behind to serve Israel. Amid this terrifying war, they need additional resources, and their parents need to see that their children are coping and being cared for. What better way to support these brave young people and their families than to allow them to reassure and be reassured by each other?”
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, said, “We are deeply moved and humbled, during this challenging time, by the daily courage of all the lone soldiers who are bravely serving our Jewish homeland far away from their parents and family. We are extra sensitive to the anxiety this distance is causing the parents of these brave men and women on the front lines and have therefore established our ‘Operation Hug’ campaign.”
Parents benefiting from the program agree. One mother named Michelle said, “This is an incredible initiative. It’s my Lone Soldier’s 21st birthday soon. It would be so special to know that I am in the same country as him.”
Supporting these brave lone soldiers who put their lives on the line for Israel’s security is the ultimate call to action. Bringing their parents to Israel during this time bolsters their spirit and resolve, contributing to the welfare of our young heroes defending Israel.
Online contributions can be made at jnf.org/supportisrael. Parents of Lone Soldier wishing to participate should call NBN’s Lone Soldier hotline at 201-605-7440.
Supporters of Israel wishing to further show their solidarity are invited to attend Jewish National Fund-USA’s Global Conference for Israel, taking place in Denver, Colorado, between November 30 – December 3. Register today for the reduced price of $50 at jnf.org/global.
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SOURCE Jewish National Fund-USA