Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has launched “FIDF Engage,” a free, virtual event series and online portal that provides official information and connection to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and Israeli officials amid the coronavirus outbreak. The FIDF Engage website, available 24/7, serves as a temporary digital alternative to the FIDF community events and galas across the United States, many of them have been postponed due to COVID-19. The FIDF Engage page enables all FIDF supporters to continue interacting with FIDF, state officials, commanders, and soldiers in the new reality of social distancing and quarantine.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of IDF soldiers have been ordered to remain on base for an indefinite period of time to minimize their exposure to the virus. The IDF undertakes the responsibility of not only fighting against foreign armies but also assisting with national civilian missions. While quarantined on their bases, IDF soldiers are helping the Israeli national effort through blood drives and by managing four hotels that have been converted into quarantine and rehabilitation centers for the civilian population, all while maintaining operational alertness. In addition, the IDF is helping to try and tamp down the spread of the virus by limiting movement into and out of areas where COVID-19 has spread quickly.
The FIDF Engage series allows FIDF to continue and connect its supporters with soldiers on the ground in Israel through virtual briefings, regular updates, holiday celebrations, Havdalah gatherings, workout and cooking classes, children’s activities, and more. This series supports FIDF’s fundraising efforts that provide a range of assistance from hygienic necessities to fitness facilities and equipment, all of which are important to addressing the well-being of soldiers. The FIDF Engage series grants supporters a way to learn more about how Israel is confronting the virus and how the IDF is handling the situation in real-time.
Among the IDF soldiers on base are some 1,000 Lone Soldiers from the United States who joined the IDF with no immediate family in Israel.
Hosted by FIDF’s leadership, the FIDF Engage series was inaugurated with a video briefing by IDF Surgeon General, Brig. Gen. Tarif Bader, followed by senior political and military analyst Ronen Bergman; Home Front Command Deputy Commander, Brig. Gen. Yoram Laredo; and Director of Policy and Political-Military Bureau at the Israel’s Ministry of Defense, Zohar Palti. On Tuesday, April 7, FIDF will host the IDF Snir Battalion, headed by its commander, Lt. Col. Anat Herschovitz, for a pre-Passover briefing and celebration. FIDF’s New England Chapter adopted the Snir Battalion, as part of the Adopt-a-Battalion Program, providing the full range of FIDF’s programs to the battalion’s many and diverse soldiers.