KKL-JNF Dedicates New Wing of ‘Benji’s House’ in Raanana

Sunday, May 19, 2019 12:58 PM

"This is Zionism at its finest."
- Haim Broide, Mayor of Raanana

One day after the celebrations of Israel’s 71st Independence Day, KKL-JNF dedicated a new wing of HaBayit Shel Benji (‘Benji’s House’) in Raanana. The new wing will allow additional lone combat soldiers to celebrate their own personal independence in rooms of their own.
On Friday, May 10, 2019, the day after Israel’s 71st Independence Day, KKL-JNF dedicated a new wing, the “KKL-JNF Wing”, at HaBayit Shel Benji (‘Benji’s House’) a warm home for male and female lone soldiers in Raanana. The new wing will allow dozens of soldiers to enjoy personal independence in private rooms.  HaBayit Shel Benji provides a “soft landing” for lone soldiers in Israel during their military service, along with a sense of belonging and a warm home to return to when on leave.
The moving dedication ceremony took place in the presence of the family of Major Benji Hillman, of blessed memory, for whom the building is named, KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar, HaBayit Shel Benji CEO Shaul Rurka, Raanana Mayor Haim Broida, Golani Brigade Commander Colonel Shai Kalfer, IDF soldiers from the Golani Brigade, and many other guests.
The new wing at HaBayit Shel Benji adds an additional twelve rooms for lone soldiers. It was built at a cost of over two million shekels, thanks to a contribution from Ms. Alice Bloomberg. Thanks to the additional wing, the house will now have 87 rooms in total. Every room provides all the necessary facilities for the soldiers so that they can feel at home, including new orthopedic beds, cable television and wireless internet.
HaBayit Shel Benji was built five years ago in memory of Major Benji Hillman, of blessed memory, who served in the Egoz commando unit and in Battalion 51 of the Golani Brigade. Benji was killed in action in July 2006, at the start of the Second Lebanon War. HaBayit Shel Benji is a warm and welcoming home for lone soldiers who serve in combat units in the IDF, perpetuating Benji’s legacy.
Accommodations provided to the soldiers include laundry facilities, three daily meals, a large garden, and access to guidance, information, counseling, and of course, a sympathetic ear. Since the house was established, its waiting list has grown longer and longer, and there are some soldiers who won’t make it to the top of the list during their entire military service. The amount of rooms donated by KKL-JNF significantly increases the number of rooms available without negatively affecting the intimate atmosphere at HaBayit Shel Benji, which aspires to give personal attention to each soldier.
Said KKL-JNF World Chairman Daniel Atar at the ceremony:“I am happy to dedicate this house at the perfect time, when we are celebrating our independence.  The IDF soldiers are very precious to the Jewish people and KKL-JNF assigns top priority to supporting IDF soldiers who serve their country so faithfully. Many of them arrived in Israel after leaving their homes and families in order to volunteer and contribute, and they deserve our deepest gratitude. Their spirit of dedication and generosity is a source of pride for all of us, and it is a great privilege to be a partner to creating a warm home for these lone soldiers.”
Benji’s House CEO Shaul Rurka said:“I would like to thank KKL-JNF and World Chairman Daniel Atar for this large contribution, which by no means should be taken for granted. KKL-JNF works together with us in full cooperation in order to realize a common goal - expanding HaBayit Shel Benji for lone soldiers. I am very excited for these soldiers, who will be privileged to have a warm home.”
Raanana Mayor Haim Broide expressed his appreciation for the new KKL-JNF wing, and said that HaBayit Shel Benji is a source of pride for the city. “This is Zionism at its finest”, he said.