Donations to IDF Troops Overflowing - but Units Forbidden From Making Requests

One infantry unit has asked for contributions on its Facebook page. In any case, there’s plenty of donated candy and other stuff to go around.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Israeli soldiers kneel during a drill near the Israel and Gaza border, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.
Israeli soldiers kneel during a drill near the Israel and Gaza border, Tuesday, July 22, 2014.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The wave of donations to Israeli soldiers has led the army to clarify procedures: Soldiers are not allowed to request or accept donations to themselves or a military unit.

During the three and a half weeks of Operation Protective Edge, the troops have been inundated with donations. Israelis are sending both healthy food and candy to the Gaza border, not to mention a variety of toiletries. So much is arriving that most of the stuff is left without any takers.

At a staging area at the border late this week, one soldier joked that he had enough wet wipes for a year. Some units are transferring to the needy some of the donations they receive.

Still, a number of units, as well as individual officers and noncommissioned officers, have requested donations. On its Facebook page, one infantry unit requested cash contributions to the unit’s nonprofit organization; it provided a bank account number. The post, which elicited complaints from senior officers, was removed after Haaretz took up the issue.

In recent days, new instructions have been handed down, crafted by Micha Kalimi, the IDF’s man responsible for donations.

“The process for accepting donations must continue to be administered in accordance with orders, with the aim of preventing inequality and the acceptance of donations that could interfere with operational alertness or the fighters’ health,” Kalimi wrote.

Kalimi said soldiers were also prohibited from accepting donations solicited by a third party. Instead, donations may only be received through the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers or the Libi Fund. Soldiers and units must refer potential donors to one of those two organizations.

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