'Friends of Israel' Supplying 8,000 Israeli Soldiers With Hanukkah Gifts

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) along with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (the Fellowship) and the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (AWIS) are providing gifts to over 8,000 Israeli soldiers this holiday season.

"The economic difficulties experienced by large parts of Israel's population also affect the soldiers of the IDF," said Founder and President of the Fellowship, Rabbi Eckstein, in a statement shared with The Christian Post. "Military service is hard enough, and this burden is even greater for soldiers whose families are suffering economic hardship. Committed to helping all citizens of Israel experiencing poverty and privation, the IFJC is also enlisting to help these soldiers. We are proud to support those who choose, despite difficulties at home, to enlist and contribute to the defense of the State of Israel."

The gift vouchers can be used in major retail stores across Israel and will provide soldiers with access to food, clothing, shoes, sports and leisure products. The Fellowship says that there are over 5,700 Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) as well as over regular 4,500 soldiers who will be entitled to the financial support.

"FIDF sees in the holiday of Chanukah another opportunity to support thousands of brave IDF soldiers, who serve as the Maccabees of the 21 st Century," added FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon . "It is a great privilege, stemming from our mission and the vision of strengthening those who protect Israel, while further reinforcing the important bond between the community in America, the State of Israel, and its soldiers."

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded in 1983 to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel, helped out as many as 10,000 soldiers during the 2011 Hanukah season. Soldiers last year received $265 each in gifts.

This year, the Fellowship and FIDF are investing over $1.4 million to support the project.

"The Israeli government is responsible for training IDF soldiers and providing them with the necessary tools for their service. FIDF is committed to providing these soldiers with love, support, and care in an effort to ease the burden they carry on behalf of the Jewish community worldwide," the organization explain on its website.