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 to Israel Youth Village are from difficult home circumstances which make it uncomfortable or impossible for them to return to their homes when they are on army leave.
These soldiers, having lived in the Israel Youth 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 (when the stores are often already closed by the time they arrive home on Saturday (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.
Each year, approximately 50 young men and women graduate from the Israel Youth Village residential 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.
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.