September 15, 2006 / 22 Elul 5766
In a special operation in the wake of the war: Scores of parents of lone immigrant soldiers who served in Lebanon arrived for a visit in Israel at the initiative of the Jewish Agency
Scores of parents from the Commonwealth of Independent States whose sons served during the War in Lebanon and in other confrontation areas, arrived this week for visit of a few days in Israel within the framework of the 'Keshet' Project of the Jewish Agency. The parents met with their children who are serving in the IDF and will tour throughout the country in order to examine absorption options here. The current visit was made possible thanks to a contribution from the Jewish Communities of Washington, and Metro West.
The parents, who live throughout the Commonwealth of Independent States, have not seen their children who are serving in the IDF for a period ranging between a year to a number of years. Many children do not inform their parents that they are serving in combat units because they don't want to worry them. Some parents have two children who are serving in the IDF.
The 'Keshet' project of the Jewish Agency focuses on bringing parents of lone immigrant soldiers for a visit to Israel. Since its inception, five years ago, more than 900 parents to lone soldiers have visited Israel thanks to a contribution from the Friendship Foundation, headed by Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, as well as contributions from the Jewish communities in Metro-West, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore, the Samberg Family, Hartford-Connecticut Washington, and the benefactor Steve Billowicz from the United States.
More than 1,000 lone immigrant soldiers arrive in Israel, every year under the aegis of Jewish Agency absorption programs for young people. At the end of their course of studies, they are drafted into the IDF and many join combat units.
Today about 2,400 lone immigrant soldiers, who immigrated to Israel on their own, are serving in the IDF, and more than half of them hail from the Commonwealth of Independent States. During the period of the War in Lebanon five lone soldiers who immigrated to Israel from the United States, Australia, France, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Ethiopia were killed and 10 lone immigrant soldiers were wounded.
The moving encounter between parents and soldiers took place on Thursday, September 14 between 12-12:45 p.m. at the City Hotel 9 Mapu St. in Tel Aviv with the participation of Zeev Bielski, the chairman of the Jewish Agency.
Photo Credit: Naftali Hilger.
For further details:
Alex Selski, Russian media spokesperson, 052-3849090
Hagit Haleli, spokesperson for the Israeli Media, 052-3467053