New aid program for volunteers from around the world

Financial grants, personal advising sessions, and more, will be provided for the 2,700 lone soldiers serving in the IDF (Zahal) before, during and after their military service

Date: 29/08/2012, 6:22 PM     Author: Bamahane Magazine

At any given moment there are between 2,500 and 2,700 lone soldiers from around the world serving in the IDF (Zahal), with as many as 1,000 such soldiers volunteering to enlist each year.

In order to aid these soldiers, who chose to leave behind their lives and their homes abroad and move to Israel, the Friends of the IDF (Zahal) (FIDF (Zahal)) organization launched a new program in coordination with the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization. The soldiers will receive financial grants and attend a course mentally preparing them for service prior to their enlistment, and a workshop integrating them into the Israeli job market once they are discharged.

“The volunteers arrive in Israel from all around the world, and set a good example of the saying ‘united we stand,’” said CEO of the FIDF (Zahal) organization, Maj. Gen. (res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon. “We hope to double and even triple the number of volunteers who moved to Israel and serve in the IDF (Zahal).” 

Already underway, the program offers the soldiers individual advising sessions before, during, and after their military service, in order to ensure any obstacles and all needs are met. In addition to financial grants, the lone soldiers will receive holiday gift packages, invitations to field days, subsidized flights to visit parents abroad, and more. The Nefesh B’Nefesh organization also recently opened a new aid center for lone soldiers, which will answer any question in a variety of languages including Russian, French, Spanish and English.

“We promise to support the lone soldiers around the globe. We will be with them from the moment they decide to enlist till they day they are discharged from the army, include aid that will help them integrate into Israeli society,” said Deputy marketing CEO of the FIDF (Zahal) organization, Mrs. Yifat Bechor.

Addressing the everyday difficulties of living alone in a new country and serving in the IDF (Zahal), Mrs. Bechor said, “We decided that it is equally important to provide these soldiers with the conceptual understanding that there is someone helping them with all their problems, and making fitting in significantly easier.”