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  1. 1. “I cannot find words to describe my emotions. With your help I was able to be with my only son. I have not seen him in seven years. I thank you on behalf of myself, my son and my own mother. My heart and soul are deeply connected to this land. I have made so many new friends during this visit.” -- Olga Markilova, mother of Alexsey, a soldier in the ground forces Printed at the Jewish Agency PARTNERING WITH PURPOSE, ALL OVER THE WORLD. The Jewish Agency is funded by The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, major Jewish communities and federations, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, foundations and donors from Israel and around the world. Keshet for Lone Soldiers
  2. 2. An Unforgettable Visit Keshet for Lone Soldiers Between Lone Soldiers The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) does the maximum to ensure that lone and their Parents about their own aliyah. Parents are given relevant information and soldiers receive the support they need while in the army. What they introduced to services and opportunities available to them as new can’t provide for is parental love and care. immigrants including family absorption programs, employment opportunities and academic and professional training. Many of Israel’s 2,500 lone soldiers Through the Keshet program, the Jewish Agency brings the parents have not seen their parents for of lone soldiers to Israel for a whirlwind tour with their children. With Since its inception in 2001, Keshet has brought 37 groups of parents months, sometimes years. The parents living thousands of miles away and the prohibitive cost of a to Israel. A post-trip evaluation conducted in 2008 revealed that 100 trip to Israel, many soldiers have not seen their parents in months, percent of the participants were satisfied with the program, and all Keshet program brings parents sometimes years. expressed gratitude for the opportunity to see their children. Fifty- of lone soldiers to Israel for an four percent stated that they intend to move to Israel within two years, emotional 10-day visit with their For some of the parents, it is their first trip to Israel. For all, it is a chance while an additional 42% are considering aliyah within the next five children. It gives renewed energy to share their child’s new life, even for a short time. Parents spend ten years. days traveling with their children, who get special leave from their to these brave young men and service. They visit famous tourist sites and army facilities and meet the Most of the lone soldiers are graduates of Jewish Agency programs women from around the world, people who are part of their children’s daily life. in Israel, including Selah, Naale and Ulpan Kibbutz. Before they are and inspires parents to think about discharged they will all participate in the Jewish Agency’s “Wings” This emotional visit often serves as a catalyst for family members program to help them ease into civilian life. joining their children in Israel. remaining overseas (often in the former Soviet Union) to decide