Struggling is nothing new for a soldier. This is especially true for an IDF soldier who has to struggle daily against the true and present dangers of terrorist attacks and the very real constant threat of war.
But for some, the struggle doesn’t stop with the call to arms in order to protect their beloved homeland. They struggle with day-to-day living as well. A combat soldier’s pay in the IDF is only 1,616 NIS (about $420) a month. A rear unit soldier gets only half that.
As a result, many soldiers, especially those from impoverished or broken homes, have no real means of support. When a soldier gets married, the additional financial burden for making even the simplest of weddings can be a near-impossible task.
“This is one of the reasons why Karmey Chesed created the Aid for IDF Soldiers fund,” Aryeh Weingarten, director of Karmey Chesed, said to Breaking Israel News. “There is a lot of work needed to help Israeli soldiers. So many soldiers don’t have a functioning home to go to when they are off-duty as they lack basic necessities like an oven, or even beds. Some do not even have food to eat.”
This is why the story of Eitan (pseudonym) is so special. Born in the Samarian city of Shiloh to a well-to-do family, they were suddenly hit with hard times. Eitan’s father lost his business, and he was forced to work at menial jobs. Maintaining his family became a near impossibility.
Eitan’s natural positive attitude helped him through these very hard times. Despite struggling at home, he succeeded in school and during his service in the Israeli army.
However, his family could not continue to support him, and when Eitan got engaged he had no means to make a humble wedding and set up his home.
“I, like so many of my fellow soldiers, met my wife in the army. But without family support and with such a small income, I had no idea how to establish my new family,” Eitan told Breaking Israel News. “I was really in trouble until I heard about Karmey Chesed.”
Eitan called Weingarten, who ensured him that Karmey Chesed would help get him the apartment furnishings he lacked along with needed appliances. “This help took a great load off of my life,” smiled Eitan. “I am grateful to the open heart of the people at Karmey Chesed.”
According to a recent study, an estimated 20,000 soldiers are forced to desert their Israeli army service due to the need to support their families. Many of them come from poverty-stricken and broken homes or single-parent homes. Many made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) by themselves or with their families from poor countries, such as Ethiopia or Russia. Because of their situation, many are in debt and find themselves with frozen bank accounts, and at times cannot even afford to pay their rent.
Karmey Chesed does all it can to assist as many needy citizens of the Holy Land on a daily basis with minimal overhead expenses. Please join Karmey Chesed in supporting the IDF fund and other welfare projects by donating here.