CBN Israel Supports Cafe That Becomes Haven for Soldiers Heading to War in Gaza

By Nicole Jansezian

Tucked into a back alley in the industrial area of a desert city in southern Israel, Coffee Studio unintentionally found itself a popular destination after October 7.

Just days after the Hamas invasion, Anna Lane’s artistic Bohemian cafe flooded with Israeli soldiers heading to nearby military bases after being called up to fight the war in Gaza.

“There was just a huge call up of soldiers who weren’t on active duty,” Anna said. “And so, I saw this and I was like, ‘This is such a great way to support our soldiers because it happened so fast.’”

Anna joined the many Israeli businesses which began donating to soldiers and internally displaced residents. Anyone in uniform got a free meal when they showed up at Coffee Studio.

But it was more than just coffee and a meal she offered. Anna had long been cultivating an atmosphere of tranquility and refuge in her off-the-beaten path cafe.

“Living here in Israel can be very intense,” she noted. “We don’t realize it until we come into a different environment. People are always saying just how wonderful and joyful it is here (at the cafe) and I know that it’s an environment that everyone can feel comfortable in.”

“That is really been the heartbeat of this coffee shop is to give a place where people can feel like they’ve been heard or seen and just have their day elevated just a little bit,” Anna said.

When Anna decided to open her business, she learned from a Korean coffee maker who taught her to sort through the beans by hand and pick out the moldy and rotten ones. This method keeps the coffee fresher longer, she said.

She was the first and perhaps still the only coffee provider in the country that sorts beans by hand.

“I’m very proud of that. That’s what I wanted to bring to Israel,” she said.

She also learned the art of roasting.

Anna met CBN Israel during COVID when government-mandated lockdowns were bleeding her business dry. Though she pivoted and started selling her coffee and baked goods to supermarkets since she couldn’t open the cafe, she was still not making enough.

“Everything still had to be paid, all the taxes had to be paid, all the property taxes, the rent,” she said.

CBN Israel’s business development department helped Anna with a grant and some much-needed encouragement.

“To have an organization come alongside and just to be supportive and just to hear me and where I’m at in this process of running a business in Israel was so supportive and so I could just trust in it and trust in the people and the organization,” she said.

CBN Israel has also helped Anna acquire much needed equipment to run her business better including a larger coffee roaster which has enabled her to expand her business. During the war, CBN Israel also pitched in to pay for soldiers’ meals.

Yigal Miller, head of CBN Israel’s business development department, said support like this is crucial.

“Supporting businesses in times of war and crisis is necessary and existential for Anna’s establishment and, with her help, we were able to feed soldiers and give the space and time to relax, disconnect and, for a moment, enjoy delicious food, coffee and love directed towards them,” Yigal said.

Anna said that during the first weeks after the war people were dazed, somber and some would randomly start to cry. She shared with the soldiers that organizations such as CBN Israel and Christians around the world were supporting them.

“They didn’t have any words to express just how much that meant to them. Some of them would cry… some of them would just be completely dumbfounded. Some would pay it forward and pay for the next soldiers that would come,” Anna said.

Ravit Stav was on her way to drop off her son at his army base just before he was heading into Gaza. They happened upon Studio Coffee having no idea they were about to be treated to a cup of coffee.

“It’s very touching that someone cares. I will leave here feeling strengthened,” she said. “Until now I didn’t shed a tear. And today I was very emotional. It touched me deeply.”

One soldier who couldn’t be named because of his position in the army said that soldiers have always felt supported there.

“They really try to help and lend a hand to all the soldiers here. It’s a wonderful gesture,” he said. “It’s nice to see that people from abroad are also trying to contribute to us, trying to help us. Soldiers come here to be distracted and they get some quiet here and financial support.”

Nicole Jansezian is the media coordinator for CBN Israel. A long-time journalist, Nicole was previously the news editor of All Israel News and All Arab News and a journalist at The Associated Press. On her YouTube channel, Nicole gives a platform to the minority communities in Jerusalem and highlights stories of fascinating people in this intense city. Born and raised in Queens, N.Y., she lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Tony, and their three children.

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