Two Lone-soldiers serving at the Air Force were given an opportunity to chat with their parents who live abroad, using video-conference stations generously provided by Cisco Systems – a worldwide networking solutions provider.
Kalya Ben-Amram | Translation: Nikolai Avrutov
While military service is mandatory for all Israelis aged 18 to 21, thousands of young Jews from all over the world come to Israel every year to voluntarily enlist for service at the IDF. These soldiers, whose families live abroad while they serve to protect and defend Israel, are called “Lone Soldiers”. They are a source of pride and inspiration to everyone around them, as they give of themselves for the safety of the State of Israel.
One of the soldiers serves at the “Stinger” Anti-Aircraft defence battalion, and the other is a flight-academy cadet. The project was initiated by Jonathan Hayun, a former combat-officer at the air force, presently in reserve, who is currently employed in one of Cisco’s offices in Israel.
Hayun tells that the idea came up following CEO’s initiative which enabled employees working in Israel to connect with friends and family living abroad during Christmas. “I proposed to use the system to the benefit of Lone Soldiers at the air force, and he immediately agreed. Everyone in the company are soldiers in reserve, and have a strong connection the army, so this idea came naturally and was very well received. It was an opportunity to do something good for the soldiers”, says Hayun. “Finally, it is a great opportunity to demonstrate, that even though some say technology isolates people, it can also bring them together like never before”.
A quick glance at the conference room explains the difference between a Cisco conference call and a regular “Skype” conversation:
A 65” HD screen complete with surround system, the room looks like a private cinema hall. When Michael (who serves at the “Stinger” battalion) walks in to the room he seems surprised. He was told that he is attending a routine brief, and his mother in Brazil was contacted without him knowing about it. “It was so wonderful to see my mother on the screen after all this time. I was so happy to talk with her”, he tells.
Michael’s mother does not have an internet connection at her house in Brazil, and she did not see her son’s face since he came to Israel a year and a half ago. Michael tells how proud he is of his work at the “Stinger” battalion, despite the difficulties and that he seriously considers becoming an officer. In the future he plans to study and work in Israel: “I want to grow and start my family here. It is clear to me, that despite the distance from Brazil, my family and friends, I will build my life here in Israel”.
Cisco employees told us how glad the company was to take part in this initiative, and that it is looking forward providing it conference room for other Lone Soldiers in the future.