Combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are constantly on the move. Whether patrolling dangerous areas, arresting terrorists or even just exercising to prepare for the next operation, they have precious few opportunities to relax and enjoy themselves. So Yashar LaChayal, a non-profit organization in Israel, decided to do something special for them!
Yashar LaChayal’s mission is to provide humanitarian support to Israeli combat soldiers. Whether by donating high-quality winter clothing, providing toiletries and electrical appliances to soldiers from financially disadvantaged families or by building rest stations for soldiers on patrol, Yashar LaChayal aims to be there for the young men and women defending Israel for whatever they need, whenever and wherever that might be! As a donor family pays for all of Yashar LaChayal’s operating expenses, every donation made to the organization is used in its entirety for the soldiers’ benefit.
For the past several years, Yashar LaChayal has worked together with Hapoel Jerusalem, the premier basketball team of Israel’s capital, to host soldiers at the team’s games. On a weekly basis, dozens of combat soldiers by unit are invited to Jerusalem’s Pais Arena stadium where they can unwind and relax from their strenuous though vital task of defending Israel.
Besides regular tickets, soldiers are also sometimes hosted in one of the stadium’s VIP boxes as guests of Yashar LaChayal. There, the soldiers are treated to seats with an amazing view of the game, as well as dinner and beverages! Some games, the VIP box is set aside for IDF veterans who were seriously injured during their service, including some who were permanently disabled.
“I think that this project is an amazing and wonderful endeavor!” a wheelchair-bound ex-soldier told Yashar LaChayal’s staff at a recent game. “We had an amazing time at last night’s game, thank you so much!” a Golani soldier reported to Yashar LaChayal after a different match. It is feedback like this that makes the Hoops for Heroes project worthwhile, demonstrating that it is highly appreciated by the heroes who do all they can to keep Israel safe.
By Amichai Bacharach