There are some 2900 “lone soldiers” who currently serve in the IDF. Lone soldiers are typically young adults who volunteer from abroad, and their parents and families don’t live in Israel.
The army experience is a grueling one for most soldiers, but lone soldiers, without family and support in Israel, can have a particularly tough experience. They can go months, and even years without seeing their families, without the benefits of the emotional and familial support system having family in Israel provides.
For many of the lone soldiers who volunteer, the families do not have the financial means to fly to Israel and see their children who are serving the Jewish state in uniform.
Minister Naftali Bennett, in his role as Minister of Diaspora Affairs, announced that the government will be deciding in the coming days on setting up a mechanism for lone soldiers to maintain more permanent communications with their families overseas.
Bennett said, “The families are giving over their precious children to the state for the duration of their service, but are unable to see them or maintain an official connection with the State of Israel. We have to strengthen those ties with the families out of recognition that the State of Israel has an obligation towards Jews the world over.”
In addition, Bennett announced that for families that do not have the financial means to visit Israel, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will be setting up a Birthright-style program for the parents, which will include round-trip flights to Israel and touring the country. The program will be generously subsidized by Israel.
In addition, their child in the army, will be allowed to join them for part of the tours.
A wonderful idea.
לראשונה, הורי חיילים בודדים יבקרו את ילדיהם בארץ–במימון המדינה.
מעין פרויקט ״תגלית״ למשפחות החיילים.
שבוע טוב לכולם?? pic.twitter.com/9y8TuAlHDU
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) August 12, 2017