5,000 Lone Soldiers who serve in the IDF and have no immediate family in Israel gathered on Wednesday and Thursday at Israel’s largest water park, just north of Tel Aviv, for a day of rest and recuperation.
There are some 7,000 Lone Soldiers from 80 countries serving in the IDF today. About 925 came from the United States, 639 from Ukraine, 559 from Russia, and 545 from France. 67% of Lone Soldiers are men, 33% women. Some 59% of Lone Soldiers serve in combat or combat-support roles.
Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) cares for all Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF through the Lone Soldiers Program, which supports them financially, socially, and emotionally during and after their challenging military service. FIDF also sponsors flights for Lone Soldiers to visit their families and friends in their countries of origin.
The Fun Day was hosted by FIDF in partnership with the IDF and Yachad Le’maan Ha’chayal (The Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers and The LIBI Fund).
In addition to the park’s many attractions, Wednesday’s Fun Day featured a pool party with leading Israeli DJ Eran Barnea, game and fitness areas, an all-day smorgasbord of BBQ and desserts, and a special performance by popular Israeli band Hatikvah 6. The soldiers also enjoyed performances by Israeli rapper Tuna and the musical duo Static and Ben El Tavori.
The Lone Soldiers also received essential information about life after their military service, including about the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to Israeli combat veterans of modest means.
IDF unit commanders, non-commissioned officers, high-ranking military officials, and FIDF supporters also attended the Fun Day festivities to meet and personally thank the Lone Soldiers for serving despite numerous challenges.
The two “Fun Days” kicked off the second annual IDF Appreciation Week, June 27-July 8, which benefits more than 50,000 soldiers. During the weeklong series of events, FIDF is sending four ice cream trucks to visit more than 24,000 soldiers on IDF combat bases across the country.