Tel Aviv, Israel, May 13 – Hundreds of Lone Soldiers from around the world serving in multiple Israel Defense Forces (IDF) units are expected to gather May 15 at Beit Hachayal in Tel Aviv for a special “Yom Sidurim,” the one day allocated to them every two months in which they can perform all of their essential errands. This new initiative was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) Lone Soldiers Program, in cooperation with the IDF Manpower Branch.
Every IDF Lone Soldier – those who immigrate without their immediate families to serve in the IDF – are eligible once every two months for a “Yom Sidurim”, an opportunity to attend to their personal affairs. After discussions with individual soldiers and IDF social workers, it became apparent that many Lone Soldiers were unable to take care of all of their personal matters in just one day.
Head of the Welfare Department of the IDF Manpower Branch, Col. Eyal Karolizki, explained, “The purpose of this event is to help Lone Soldiers complete all the arrangements required of them. This initiative was launched in order to help make things easier for Lone Soldiers, and was made out of respect, and recognition of the challenges with which Lone Soldiers have to deal with on a daily basis.”
The IDF invests significantly in resources for the welfare of Lone Soldiers, by creating a comprehensive array of services adapted to every soldier’s individual needs, amounting to hundreds of millions of shekels a year.
In preparation for this new “Yom Sidurim”, the IDF issued a directive to military units to release all Lone Soldiers next Thursday. Simultaneously, the IDF has invited all civilian agencies that Lone Soldiers typically deal with to the day, to attend to all their needs at one time. Among the participating institutions are: the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Ministry of Interior, the Student Licensing Office, Ministry of Housing, Automobile License Authority, Matan, Amidar, National Electronic Billing, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Ha’aguda Lema’an Hachayal, Discharged Soldiers Guidance Department, Electric Company of Israel, Ktseen Ha’air, Heseg Foundation, Mentor for Life, IMPACT Program, Ach Gadol and more. Also attending will be a special NBN team including advisors in finances, law, employment, academic studies and more.
About 2,800 Lone Soldiers currently serve in the IDF including: 890 from the U.S., 404 from Russia, 264 from Ukraine, 165 from France, 79 from Canada, 78 from Britain, 59 from Belarus, 40 from Moldova, 37 from Australia, 37 from South Africa, 34 from Kazakhstan, 29 from Uzbekistan, 28 from Argentina, 26 from Brazil, 25 from Mexico, 21 from Colombia, 20 from Germany, 20 from Italy, 20 from Azerbaijan, 14 from Holland, 14 from Venezuela, 12 from Georgia, 12 from Belgium, 11 from Uruguay, 9 from Spain, 9 from Peru, 8 from Guatemala, 6 from Hungary, 5 from Sweden, and soldiers from dozens of other countries such as Armenia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Romania , Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan.
“We are extremely excited to be joining forces with all of our partners in creating this one-stop shop for our dedicated Lone Soldiers,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Every single soldier is a source of pride and inspiration for us, and it is our duty to do all we can to make their army service and Aliyah easier for them.”