Ahead of Thanksgiving, a delegation of Israeli army veterans is providing humanitarian aid and volunteering in underprivileged communities in Argentina.
Their efforts are part of the Heroes For Life initiative, a non-profit organization that encourages new Israeli Defense Forces veterans to volunteer internationally.
More than 60 IDF veterans arrived in the South American country earlier this week and are mentoring students, as well as renovating schools, orphanages and community centers. The volunteers are divided into teams, each tasked with a different mission, such as painting or restoration work, or teaching children English, mathematics, music, personal values or dental care.
The project was initiated by three former Israeli soldiers who served in the IDF's elite counter-terrorism unit.
The trio noticed that many Israeli veterans plan trips to developing countries right after their release from military service. As a result, the organization considered using these post-army backpackers for humanitarian work, realizing they could make an impact on Israel’s global standing.
“As so many new veterans are having their post-army trips around the world and it has become a trend for young Israeli veterans, we wanted to capitalize this huge amount of Israelis overseas to make a difference in underprivileged communities worldwide,” said Heroes For Life founder Gili Cohen.
Since its inception in 2013, Heroes For Life has helped over 7,120 children in 17 countries across the globe.
“As Israelis, we have advantages, coming from a nation of immigrants. The veterans speak multiple languages, in addition to Hebrew, and are excited to connect with children around the world,” Cohen said. “We also have the Jewish communities around the world joining us and helping us translate. In terms of logistics, there are 4,000 Chabad houses around the world, alongside Israeli embassies which help us in each destination.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.