Video testimony of a lone soldiers
Ben-Gurion and Michael Matsas giving care packages to Israeli soldiers
Sometimes it is hard for IDF lone soldiers to access basic necessities. We focus on these small details which enhance and create a better army experience for our lone soldiers, making sure that whether they are on or off base their basic needs are covered.
We are distributing care packages for holidays, and to newly drafting soldiers. It’s always a major operation preparing the packages, with many soldiers receiving them each holiday.
For pre-drafting soldiers, we often reach out to people around the world who send basic necessities for such, as socks, deodorant, toothpaste and more. The soldiers really get to see and understand that there are people around the world who appreciate them for protecting our land.
We also encourage school projects, both in Israel and around the world, wherein children write letters to lone soldiers, which is another way for these heroes to feel the warm embrace of the greater Jewish family.
Each year, approximately 50 young men and women graduate from the Israel Youth Village high school. The Village is extremely proud of the fact that, upon graduation, almost 100% of its graduates are inducted into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) where they proudly serve their country for 2 (women) -3 (men) years.
Israel is a small, family-oriented society and army service is often extremely difficult, dangerous and stressful. The IDF tries to allow its soldiers to have home leave as often as possible – usually every other Shabbat. Israeli parents are known to spoil their soldier children – providing good meals, family gatherings, home-baked goodies, laundry service and all the comforts of home plus whatever luxuries they can afford each time their soldier returns from the base or the battlefield.
Many of the Village graduates are living in Israel without their families. Other students come from difficult home circumstances which make it uncomfortable or impossible for them to return to their homes when on army leave. These soldiers, having lived in the Village “cocoon” for 4-6 years, are now faced with life in the “real world” in addition to adjusting to army life. They need to deal with the problems and challenges of renting an apartment, paying utility bills, buying food (the stores are often already closed when they arrive home close to Shabbat) and preparing their own meals. After living in a warm, supportive atmosphere surrounded by their friends, they are suddenly on their own when they most need the warmth and the peer support!
WHAT IS A LONE SOLDIER?
In the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), a lone soldier (Hebrew: חייל בודד, Ḥayal Boded) is defined as a serviceman or woman without immediate family in Israel. Lone soldiers serve in regular units and combat units as well.
Their exact number fluctuates over time, but is consistently in the thousands; the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported in April 2012 that there were an “estimated 5,000.” About 40% of them serve in combat units. They are generally either non-Israelis of Jewish background volunteering under the Mahal or Tzofim Garin Tzabarprogrammes, or immigrants under the Law of Return, although other possibilities exist (e.g. orphaned natives).
According to an IDF spokeswoman, 8,217 personnel born outside Israel enlisted between 2009 and August 2012. The most represented countries of origin were Russia and the United States, with 1,685 and 1,661 recruits respectively.
THE LONE SOLDIERS
Israel is a small, family-oriented society and army service is often extremely difficult, dangerous and stressful. The IDF tries to allow its soldiers to have home leave as often as possible – usually every other weekend. Israeli parents are known to spoil their soldier children – providing good meals, family gatherings, home-baked goodies, laundry service and all the comforts of home, plus whatever luxuries they can afford – each time they return from the base or the battlefield. But the lone soldiers have no home to go to.
Donate to the Lone Soldiers Building Project.
Our Lone Soldiers Many students of the Israel Youth Village, and graduates, are living in Israel without their families. A majority of these students are on the NAALEH Program sponsored by the Jewish Agency, which brings youngsters from different countries to Israel without their families for 9th to 12th grade. In addition, other students that come […]