January 8, 2007 / 18 Tevet 5767
Jewish Agency Salutes IDF Fighters With Tel Aviv Pop Concert
More than 2,500 Israeli students, who were drafted into the army reserves in the summer during the second Lebanon war, received Jewish Agency for Israel college scholarships last Thursday (Jan 4th) at Tel Aviv’s Hangar Club. The soldiers were also treated to a live pop concert by two of the country’s leading popular music artists Keren Peles and Ivri Lider.
Jewish Agency Chairman Zeev Bielski was on hand to greet the student soldiers. “These students and their preparedness to go and fight at a moment’s notice are the heart and soul of Israel,” he said. “The Jewish communities of the world through the UJC and Keren Hayesod salute them.”
In total 8,700 students who served in the IDF as reserves during the war received Jewish Agency scholarships at a total cost of over $8 million from the Israel Emergency Fund.
Roman Kizner, 26, from Ashkelon, who is studying Civil Engineering at the College of Judea and Samaria, is one of the students receiving the scholarship. He spent 29 days in uniform in July and August with an elite IDF combat unit serving much of the time in Lebanon close to the Syrian border.
“It is always difficult to make ends meet,” said Kizner, who immigrated to Israel as a child from Ukraine in 1990. “I work as a security officer at the Rosh Haayin Industrial Zone and I had intended putting in long hours in the summer to save up some money. But the war put an end to that.”
Kizner was married on August 31st several days after he was demobilized. “I look on this scholarship as a wedding present from the Jewish people,” he remarked.
Liron Maor, 25 from Haifa was one of the few women who received scholarships. A lieutenant in the Home Guard who specializes in the disposal of hazardous materials she was drafted in the summer to help evacuate sensitive materials from factories in the Haifa Bay region. She is a second year student in Industrial Management at ORT Braude College in Karmiel in the Galilee.
“It was a difficult summer,” she recalls. “I never imagined I’d ever see missiles falling on Haifa. This scholarships helps blot out the difficult memories.”
Eyal Rosen, 25, from Kibbutz Solelim in the north served for 19 days in Lebanon in his infantry unit. An Accountancy student at Haifa College of Management he observes. “My kibbutz was privatized several years ago so now I have to balance my own budget and it would have been hard for me to pay my tuition fees without this check.”
The event at the Hangar was also sponsored by Army Radio (Galei Tzahal) who broadcast the concert live.