The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces said they will provide $1.5 million in annual Rosh Hashanah “Fellowship Gift Cards” to 12,000 IDF soldiers to mark the upcoming Jewish New Year.
The initiative, coordinated in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers and the Libi Fund, will provide more than 10,000 lone soldiers with gift cards worth $140. Another 2,200 soldiers will receive gift cards worth $100.
The cards “will allow the soldiers to celebrate the New Year without the burden of financial stress,” the organizations said in a statement.
The vouchers can be used at some 90 major Israeli retail chains to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sporting goods and leisure products.
Significant media attention has focused on Israeli lone soldiers in recent years, particularly after two American-born soldiers, Max Steinberg of California and Sean Carmeli of Texas, were killed in the 2014 Gaza war.
Some 7,133 lone soldiers currently serve in the IDF, with around 840 hailing from the United States.