Israel’s soldiers are its national heroes and protectors, who put their lives on the line every day to keep their homeland safe and secure.
But how does the IDF ensure that they are safe and secure?
A reliance on civilian support
The Israeli military relies heavily on its civilian population for support, more so than any other army in the world.
For example, the IDF doesn’t provide its soldiers with basic needs such as laundry service, relying on the soldier’s parents and communities to perform these tasks. The same goes for homemade meals and other basic amenities relating to room and board.
That’s also why Israeli soldiers are sent on leave so often – because the army assumes the families they go home to will provide basic necessities. Many IDF troops go on leave every weekend or every other week where they enjoy home-cooked Shabbat meals the army can’t provide. The Israeli military is structured to rely on the soldier’s families to fill in essential services the IDF can’t offer.
But what about soldiers without families in Israel? What happens to those who come from abroad to volunteer their service?
Who tends to the needs of Israel’s foreign warriors who made Aliyah, who don’t have parents nearby to cook them homemade meals?
About 7,000 soldiers currently serving in the IDF do not have families to care for them. Nearly 45% of these soldiers come from abroad, while others are orphans, were raised in abusive homes, or are from families that disowned them when they decided to join the military.
Some of these soldiers come from ultra-orthodox families. Their decision to go against the grain and join the IDF, a move frowned upon in the Haredi community, often means that they will find themselves disowned by their parents. With no family to go home to, many of these lone soldiers are homeless and even hungry.
An organization is providing a caring solution
Unfortunately, the IDF hasn’t invested sufficient resources into solving this problem. That’s why Meir Panim steps in to fill the gap.
Meir Panim has established Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens and Meals-On-Wheels programs across Israel for those suffering from food insecurity. In addition, they provide hot Shabbat meals, holiday meals, and food and care packages to soldiers in Israel, along with activities and programs at their nationwide branches.
Soldiers know that they can always count on Meir Panim for a warm welcome and a hot, delicious meal. Every soldier needing support, whether a combat soldier, a new recruit or a disabled veteran having trouble making ends meet, can turn to Meir Panim for assistance.
Unlike the IDF, Meir Panim is a privately funded organization and must rely on donations from friends of Israel around the world to support its critical mission.
Other charitable initiatives
But Meir Panim offers so much more than just assisting lone IDF soldiers. Meir Panim has established restaurant-style soup kitchens throughout Israel from as far north as Tzefat, to as far south as Dimona, providing warm meals to struggling Israelis struggling to make ends meet. The food served at their restaurant-style soup kitchens is sourced from local hotels and events halls that would otherwise throw out high quality food. The program provides a vital service to the poor while also preventing unnecessary food waste.
Meir Panim also runs the “Al Telchi Levadech –Don’t Go Alone” program, their latest initiative to help women enter the workforce. Provided at no cost to participants, the program consists of a four-month training program followed by six months of professional job searching guidance and an onboarding process at the participants’ new place of employment.
The program boasts an impressive 80% job placement rate.
Israeli servicemen and servicewomen risk their lives, day in and day out, to keep the Jewish State safe. Thanks to them, millions of Israelis live securely.
It’s our responsibility to ensure that no IDF soldier ever feels alone or forgotten.
How you can join the effort?
Are you able to help the IDF’s most vulnerable soldiers? Ensuring that every IDF soldier is welcomed with love and appreciation to a Shabbat or holiday meal provided by Meir Panim is a meaningful way to show support and appreciation for the service members protecting Israel’s borders.