Some 5,000 Lone Soldiers – Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers with no immediate family in Israel – gathered at Shefayim Water Park - Israel’s largest waterpark, just outside of Tel Aviv, for a day of rest and recuperation on Thursday, June 27. The “Fun Day” was hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (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).
There are some 6,116 Lone Soldiers from 80 countries serving in the IDF today. About 810 came from the United States, 546 from Ukraine, 459 from Russia, and 412 from France. 66% of Lone Soldiers are men, while 34% are women. Some 55% of Lone Soldiers serve in combat or combat-support roles. 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 FIDF “Fun Day” at the Shefayim Water Park benefitted Lone Soldiers from all IDF units. In addition to the park’s many attractions, the “Fun Day” featured a pool party with leading Israeli DJ Eran Barnea, game and fitness areas, and an all-day smorgasbord of barbeque and desserts. 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.
In addition to the Lone Soldiers, IDF unit commanders, non-commissioned officers, high-ranking military officials, and FIDF supporters also attended the “Fun Day” festivities to meet and personally thank these brave men and women in uniform for serving despite numerous challenges.