Online crowd funding seems to be today’s go-to solution for a number of people seeking financial support for their projects. And now that number includes IDF soldiers trying to pay for additional equipment and supplies during Operation Protective Edge.
There are a number of campaigns raising money to pay for everything from bulletproof vests to binoculars to foot powder for IDF troops on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, Tilt, and Indiegogo. While some of them were initiated by non-profit organizations like the One Israel Fund, others were the brainchild of individual members of the Israeli military.
Tzvi (Todd) Wiesel, who identifies himself as a member of the 97th Battalion, set out to raise $20,000 for “protective equipment,” such as knee pads, flashlights, water packs, tourniquets,and bullet proof vests. He ended up raising more than $22,000 by the time his online campaign closed on July 31.
Clearly, friends, relatives and members of the general public were moved by Wiesel’s plea for support.
“Ever since the tragic kidnapping and murder of the three yeshiva students Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, my unit has been working non-stop to locate and arrest terrorists, quell violent riots, and ensure the safety of the Jewish people in the surrounding neighborhoods. Now as Israel’s borders are heating up yet again we have been placed on high alert and are preparing for the worst,” he wrote on his Tilt campaign page.
“Due to the recent nature of our brigade, the newest in the army and our battalion, the newest within the brigade, the amount of funds allotted for our gear dwarfs in comparison to that of some of the better-known units,” Wiesel wrote.
Another soldier, Daniel Saban, who identifies himself as from the Golani Brigade in the 51st Battalion, notes on his GoFundMe campaign page that he is grateful for the many donations made by Friends of the IDF, the Lone Soldier Center and others.
“However, because we haven’t been home for weeks (some for a month and a half) there are still a number of items that my unit of 35 Foot Soldiers are not able to get, especially being stationed out in this dusty/windy/blistering hot desert,” he wrote.
Saban has so far raised $2,142 toward his goal of $6,000 for supplies such as deodorant, electrical outlet extension splitters, brushes for cleaning guns and kippah clips.
For its part, the IDF Spokesman’s Office would not comment on these grassroots efforts to supply the troops.
“The IDF provides all necessary gear for soldiers, regardless of the mission. The IDF supply administration works with the forces on the ground to know what is needed,” it said.
“We ask that people go through approved organizations and channels, like the FIDF, to donate money and supplies to contribute to the IDF’s efforts,” it added.