Libi Fund

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The Libi Fund ('The Soldiers are there for us, We are here for them') is an Israeli charitable organisation that donates funds and provides various forms of support to the Israel Defense Forces. It also operates as one of two 'pass through organisations' through which all donations are supposed to pass from external donors to the IDF.

The fund was established in 1980 by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Chief of Staff of the IDF Rafael Eitan was also a key figure in the creation of the organisation. According to the website of the Libi Fund Begin founded the organisation with the intent of improving educational opportunities for IDF personnel and for Israeli youth more generally. However the fund does not confine itself to educational programmes and engages in a range of other activities. The fund is run as a voluntary organisation with its chairman appointed by the Prime Minister of Israel.[1]

In December 2003 the Libi Fund received NIS 3.5 million from the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.[2]

In 2009, the IDF developed new procedures that required every donation to the army to receive the approval of the IDF's personnel division and then to be transferred via the Libi Fund or the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers (AWIS).[3]

The Jerusalem Post reported that in January 2010 a report written by Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss made some critical comments regarding the fund. Reportedly Lindenstrauss found that against military regulations IDF soldiers had been fundraising for the fund. It was also reported that Lindenstrauss had found that between 2004 and 2008 donations to the Libi fund had declined significantly:

The report noted a steady decline in donations to Libi. In 2004, the donations were NIS 34 million and in 2008 contributions dropped to NIS 23 million.[4]

In May 2010 the Jerusalem Post reported on the launch of a pilot scheme named the Academic Patrol. Initiated by then President Shimon Peres the programme reportedly aimed to enable soldiers to pursue bachelors degrees whilst continuing their army service. The project was launched jointly under the aegis of the Libi Fund, the Israeli Defense Ministry, the Israel Defense Forces, Beit Hanassi, the Israeli Education Ministry, the Open University, and the Rashi Foundation amongst others.[5]

In December 2010 the entirety of the Libi Fund's governing board resigned in protest at the then Defense Minister Ehud Barak's appointment of Histadrut official Asher Goldschlager as new head of the fund:

Members slammed Barak for using the LIBI Fund, which collected NIS 30 million for the IDF in 2010 - the most since it was established in 1980 by then-chief of General Staff Rafael Eitan - as a political tool to satisfy Labor Party cronies.[6]

In 2011 a public committee headed by former chair of the Israel Securities Authority, Arie Mientkavich issued a report that was highly critical of AWIS. The report accused the organisation of having a bloated infrastructure and of spending too much money on remunerating employees rather than on assisting IDF soldiers. The report recommended the dismantling of both AWIS and the Libi Fund and the creation of a civilian agency to replace those organisations. However it was subsequently reported that, contrary to the recommendations of the panel, the Israeli Defense Ministry would not dissolve AWIS but would instead establish a new organisation alongside AWIS within which the Libi Fund would be subsumed.[7]

As of March 2015 both AWIS and the Libi Fund continue to operate as the vehicles through which donations to the IDF pass.

In September 2011 the LibiFund held celebrations to mark the organisation's 30th anniversary. Attendees included then Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Chief of the IDF General Staff Benny Gantz and Libi Chairman Asher Goldschlager. In reports on the event it was reported that the Libi Fund had raised NIS 30 million for the IDF that year.[8]

The same month in collaboration with the IDF's Manpower Directorate, the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel's Soldiers, and the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces the Libi Fund published 'Dream 2020' a wish list of items for purchase. Reportedly the list amounted to some NIS 1.3 billion.[9]

The fund counts the Canadian Charles R. Bronfman Foundation amongst its funders.[10]


Many of the activities of the Libi Fund parallel those run by AWIS and the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Supporting IDF Operations

In 2014 during Operation Protective Edge in collaboration with employees of Israel Aerospace Industries the Libi Fund organised the distribution of gift packages to thousands of soldiers engaged in the operation in Gaza.[11]

Provisions bought for IDF soldiers by the Libi Fund have included bullet proof vests including advanced ceramic vests.[12] [13]


The Libi Fund runs a number of religious project whose aim in substantial part appears to be the improvement of IDF morale:

Jewish consciousness field extends across a wide range of issues: fighting spirit, leadership, motivation, mission, family and relationships, dealing with fear - everything from Jewish sources and military heritage.[14]

The Fund also purchases Torah scrolls, helped establish synagogues for IDF units and has funded ‘Jewish consciousness mobile units’ that are run by the IDF chaplaincy. [14] The Fund also distributes gifts during important Jewish holidays. [14]


As is the case with the FIDF the Libi fund works to integrate Ethiopian migrants more fully into the IDF and Israeli society in general through its five week ‘Amir Course’.[15]

The Fund runs Hebrew language courses which aim to 'contribute to the integration and strengthening the sense of identity and belonging.'[16]

The organisation also runs a “Witnesses in Uniform” program which organises visits to the Nazi death camps in Poland on the part of IDF soldiers. The visits:

heightens the sense of mission to the army and the state through the journey to Poland and imparting the memory of the Holocaust.[17]

The fund also organises ‘Sunday Cultural Days’ at which IDF soldiers watch plays, films and engage in other cultural events funded and organised by the Libi Fund:

The purpose of the project is to strengthen the moral fortitude of the
soldiers and their cultural awareness and their exposure to culture
in general and Hebrew culture and creativity in particular.

The Fund claims to have reached more than a million soldiers through the program since 1987. [18]


The Fund runs various Medical projects which include the construction of medical facilities, the purchasing of armoured ambulances, acquisition of medical equipment and protective measure equipment and the provision of ‘Military mobile Intensive Care Units’. Facilities built include those for dentistry, orthopaedics, and physiotherapy.[19] [20]


Like the FIDF and AWIS the Libi Fund provides assistance to lone soldiers including food grants and financial aid. The organisation also builds recreational facilities such as clubs, gyms and sports halls.[21]

The fund also puts on ‘Fun Days’ to improve the morale of IDF soldiers. [22]




Phone: 972 3 1234578
Fax: 972 3 1234578


  1. Libi Fund Website About Libi Fund. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  2. Gil Hoffman, AP, Jerusalem Post Staff, Arieh O'Sullivan, Etgar Lefkovits, Judy Siegel, 'News in brief', The Jerusalem Post, 21 December 2003
  3. Shuki Sadeh, 'The Israeli army's big, green donation machine', Haaretz, 25 April 2014
  4. Yaakov Katz, 'Defense Ministry's Libi Fund used soldiers to raise money, against mili-tary regulations', The Jerusalem Post, 14 January 2010
  5. Greer Fay Cashman, 'New project enables soldiers to combine their army service with university studies. Academic Patrol launched at Beit Hanassi for 50 combat soldiers', The Jerusalem Post, 17 May 2010
  6. Yaakov Katz, 'LIBI Fund board resigns in protest of Barak appointee', Jerusalem Post, 28 December 2010
  7. Shuki Sadeh, 'The Israeli army's big, green donation machine', Haaretz, 25 April 2014
  8. Staff, 'Chief of Staff: Israel's Security Based on Bond Between IDF, Society', States News Services, 4 September 2011
  9. Yaakov Katz, 'IDF wish list might go viral', Jerusalem Post, 1 September 2011
  10. Yves Engler, 'Illegal Settlements: Canada's Money at Work', The Palestine Chronicle, 13 January 2011
  11. Staff, 'IAI Employees Send Thousands of Gift Packages to Soldiers in the South', ENP Newswire, 25 July 2014
  12. Staff, 'Libi Fund honors reservist from Brooklyn', The Jerusalem Post, 27 May 2002
  13. Margot Dudkevitch, 'IDF hit for not protecting those who protect us', The Jerusalem Post, 8 September 2003
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Libi Fund Website Religion Projects. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  15. Libi Fund Website Education. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  16. Libi Fund Website Language Courses. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  17. Libi Fund Website Witnesses in Uniform. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  18. Libi Fund Website Sunday Cultural Day. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  19. Libi Fund Website Medical Projects. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  20. Libi Fund Website Ambulance Donation. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  21. Libi Fund Website Welfare Projects. Accessed 19 March 2015.
  22. Libi Fund Website Fun Day. Accessed 19 March 2015.