The first state-of-the-art building for lone soldiers—funded by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), and Ha’aguda Lema’an Hachayal (the Association for Israel’s Soldiers)—was inaugurated during a Sept. 7 ground-breaking in Israel.
The eight-story apartment house in Rishon Letzion, in central Israel, features 56 flats; an open-space glass-ceiling atrium; a dining hall with free food for lone soldiers; a soldier’s club; laundry services; and more. Each soldier will have his or her own room in this building.
Lone soldiers are defined as having no immediate family—namely, parents—living in Israel.
“It is incredibly inspiring to see soldiers leave their homeland and come here, to the State of Israel, to serve in the Israeli army with unbelievable commitment,” said Maj. Gen. Yaniv Asor, head of the IDF Personnel Directorate. “This is proof that Israel is the home of all Jewish people. Today, we’re not just building a home for lone soldiers; we’re also building a symbol for hope, mutual responsibility and coherence. No soldier should ever feel alone in the IDF or in Israeli society. We will keep surrounding them with love, greater than the walls of the new building that is being constructed in their honor.”
The ceremony was attended by Steve Weil, CEO of FIDF; Yael Eckstein, IFCJ president and CEO; General (Res.) Yoram (“Yaya”) Yair, chairman of Ha’aguda Lema’an Hachayal; Raz Kinstlich, the mayor of Rishon Letzion; and Asor. They kicked off construction of the Saban Family Lone Soldier Home, dedicated in memory of Virginia and Nissim Saban, the parents of Haim Saban, 78, an Israeli-American media proprietor, investor, musical composer, and producer of records, film and TV.
“FIDF supporters have profound gratitude for the men and women who selflessly make the noble decision to dedicate years of their young lives to defending the State of Israel, with no family to lean on,” said Weil. “We put tremendous resources behind our initiative to ensure that every lone soldier feels supported during their service. Our programs range from social and emotional support, bureaucratic assistance, housing, financial aid and other transformational opportunities to help them focus on their mission with confidence.”
The new home will provide housing for 222 lone soldiers beginning in December 2024.