Israeli Air Force Hero Commemorates the Festival of Lights with Residents in The Villages


THE VILLAGES, Fla., December 16, 2021 — Former Israeli Air Force (IAF) pilot, Maj (Res.) Oren Hefetz may have retired from a 24-year career as a helicopter pilot in one of the most successful, demanding, and prestigious organizations in Israel, but that hasn’t stopped the military hero from continuing to help make the impossible possible for the citizens he has dedicated his life to serve and protect. On Monday, December 6, 2021, Hefetz, JNF-USA’s new Israel Emissary to The Villages made his inaugural visit to Central Florida where he joined local community members to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah and the miracles that JNF-USA has kindled for the land and people of Israel since it was founded in 1901.


JNF-USA’s new Israel Emissary to The Villages, Oren Hefetz


Hefetz spoke about his personal journey commandeering the skies as one of Israel’s elite, and eventually getting involved with JNF-USA, the charity that “brought him back down to earth,” when he managed the integration of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers from JNF-USA affiliate, Special in Uniform into his air force base.


“Special in Uniform helps young adults with disabilities and special needs find meaningful and impactful ways to serve in the IDF, ultimately providing them with valuable skills that help them enter the workforce following their service,” said Hefetz. “One of the things I found most impactful during that chapter of my life were the tears of joy on the families’ faces as their teens fulfilled a dream of serving and being accepted into Israeli society. It’s something I will never forget.”


Oren Hefetz celebrates Chanukah in The Villages

Oren Hefetz celebrates Chanukah in The Villages


In addition to Special in Uniform, JNF-USA supports initiatives that makes forests, parks, and playgrounds accessible for people with disabilities; funds a groundbreaking Israeli facility that is utilizing majestic equines to provide a unique healing experience for individuals seeking therapeutic riding to help with developmental, neurological, emotional, behavioral, and/or learning difficulties; and provides philanthropic support for a world leading rehabilitation hospital in Israel’s south.



“As the JNF-USA Israel Emissary to The Villages, it is a great honor to represent causes that so many of you also care deeply about,” added Hefetz. “From supporting children in Israel with disabilities to investing in water research and development, medical centers, afforestation, and so much more, by partnering with JNF-USA, residents in The Villages and communities in Central Florida are helping the world in so many ways.”


To learn more about Oren Hefetz’s new role as Israel Emissary to The Villages, and how to get involved with Jewish National Fund-USA, contact him at 415-677-9600 x974 or



Media Contact:

Jennifer Milton

561.447.9733 x 875


About Jewish National Fund-USA

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.