Soldiers get NIS 6.2 million in 'Hanukka Gelt'

Soldiers get NIS 6.2 mil

lone soldiers 248.88 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
lone soldiers 248.88
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews will donate NIS 6.2 million to thousands of lone soldiers and soldiers in need as part of its Hanukka Gelt initiative, the group announced on Thursday. Working together with the Friends of the IDF and the H&O fashion chain, this is the third year the IFCJ has run such a project. "The IFCJ invests a lot of resources caring for Israeli citizens in fields of welfare, absorption, aliya and security," commented IFCJ President and Founder Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein in a statement. "With this grant, the donors to the IFCJ, non-Jewish supporters of Israel, express their support for Israel and its soldiers, as well as their concern for the security of the state." The project will provide 10,000 soldiers with "Fellowship Cards" to buy clothing in H&O stores around the country. Combat soldiers will receive NIS 1,000 and the rest will receive NIS 400 each. Distribution of the cards, which will be valid until May, began this week. Itzhak "Jerry" Gershon, director-general of the Friends of the IDF, which provides education programs and other assistance to all IDF soldiers, welcomed the initiative. "Lone soldiers deserve special honor because of the fact that they chose to serve the country and must overcome personal difficulties," said former public security minister Avigdor Kahalani, chairman of the Association for the Soldier, which is also facilitating the project. "This is why we provide them with all possible support in various areas." Earlier this week, The Jerusalem Post reported that due to budget constraints, the Absorption Ministry had failed to pay subsidies to several hundred lone immigrant soldiers - here without parents - for the past four months. Such soldiers are meant to receive NIS 352 a month to assist them with living and other expenses. According to the IDF, there are some 5,100 lone soldiers serving in the army, of whom some 60 percent, or roughly 3,000, are new immigrants.