Israel is set to open its largest and most state-of-the-art lone soldier home, after several years of planning.
The project was funded by Friends of the IDF (FIDF), The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), and Ha'aguda Lema'an Hachayal (the Association for Israel’s Soldiers).
A ceremony was held on September 7 to commemorate the start of construction and was attended by many guests involved in the project.
Steve Weil, CEO of FIDF, Yael Eckstein, President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), General (Res.) Yoram Yair, “Yaya,” Chairman, Ha'aguda Lema'an Hachayal; Raz Kinstlich, Mayor of Rishon Lezion, and Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, Head of the IDF Personnel Directorate, kicked off the construction of The Saban Family lone soldier Home in Rishon LeZion, dedicated in loving memory of Virginia and Nissim Saban, parents of Haim Saban.
The home will provide housing for 222 courageous lone soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) beginning in December 2024.
A state-of-the-art home for Israel's lone soldiers
Located in the center of Israel, the eight-story apartment building with 56 apartments features an open space glass ceiling atrium, dining hall with free food for lone soldiers, a soldier’s club, laundry services and more. Each soldier will have his or her own room in the building.
"It is incredibly inspiring to see soldiers leave their homeland and come here, to the state of Israel, to serve in the Israeli army with unbelievable commitment," said Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor.
"This is proof that Israel is the home of all Jewish people. Today, we’re not just building a home for lone soldiers, we’re also building a symbol for hope, for mutual responsibility, and for coherence. No soldier should ever feel alone in the IDF or in Israeli society. We will keep surrounding them with love, greater than the walls of the new building that is being constructed in their honor."
“FIDF supporters have profound gratitude for the men and women who selflessly make the noble decision to dedicate years of their young lives to defending the State of Israel, with no family to lean on,” said Steve Weil.
“We put tremendous resources behind our lone soldier initiative to ensure that every lone soldier feels supported during their service. Our programs range from social and emotional support, bureaucratic assistance, housing, financial aid, and other transformational opportunities to help them focus on their mission with confidence.”
“The IDF is the very heart and soul of the land and people of Israel. Over the years, The Fellowship has been blessed to support those who protect and defend the State of Israel and has contributed 70 million dollars for the welfare of our soldiers and their families,” said Yael Eckstein.
“My father, the late Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, worked tirelessly on behalf of the IDF and had a vision to create a home for our lone soldiers, young men and women who selflessly choose to come and contribute to our beloved Israel and are the very embodiment of the spirit of modern Zionism. This new facility, in recognition of the Saban family, will not only give them a home, but even more so remind them that their sacrifice is so deeply appreciated by hundreds of thousands of supporters and lovers of Israel from around the world.”
According to General (Res.) Yoram Yair, “Yaya”, “The Saban lone soldier Home in Rishon LeZion is one pillar in The Association for Israel's Soldiers’ efforts, in partnership with FIDF and The Fellowship, to ensure the deserving lone soldiers feel the comforts of home. It’s been many years since a warm, spacious facility has been built for lone soldiers. We are thankful to the Saban family as well as the municipality of Rishon LeZion and the mayor, for their ongoing help and for allocating the land.”