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December 17, 2012 11:37 am

‘Friend a Soldier’ Connects IDF Troops With Internet Users Around the World

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On Nov. 17, IDF reserve soldiers in staging areas around the Gaza Strip. They can go home in the coming days if the Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds. Photo: Israel Defense Forces.

An online initiative meant to enable dialogue between former Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Internet users from around the world has relaunched a newly designed website.

The “Friend a Soldier” website was originally established in 2010. Since then, recently released IDF soldiers, in addition to reservists, have answered thousands of e-mails from 159 countries.

The group that runs the website says that its members are willing to engage in a dialogue with anyone on any topic, especially regarding the Middle East and the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Friend-a-Soldier was founded in 2010 by IDF veterans Daniel Nisman, Yagil Beinglass and Joshua Mintz, immigrants to Israel from the U.S. and Britain who wanted to fight against the vilification of Israel online. They decided to create an online forum where former IDF soldiers could answer questions about the army and life in Israel.

“Forging these personal connections is the only way to break the misconceptions about us,” Beinglass said.

Nisman said that the group’s goal “is to reach the point where we have IDF veterans from all parts of Israeli society volunteering to answer questions in many languages, to personally influence hundreds of people a month, and to become the address for the world to engage in an open and honest dialogue.”

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