Idan Ianovici, new director of the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin, spent 15 days touring the US, fundraising for the organisation. The center provides a home base for soldiers serving in the IDF who do not have homes to return to — either because they are immigrants who came without their families or because they do not receive the support they need at home. About half of all soldiers designated as “lone soldiers” in the IDF are in fact Israelis, some orphaned, some who come from homes of low socioeconomic status or from Ultra-Orthodox communities where they are shunned. The center itself is named for fallen lone soldier Michael Levin of Philadelphia, who fell in the Lebanon war in 2006.
The center provides lone soldiers with a place to sleep, laundry, square meals and anything else a soldier would normally receive in his own home. On May 17 it will open its first physical center in Tel Aviv — until now its only facilities were offices in that city and Jerusalem, and, more recently, Beer Sheva. The new location was made possible by the generosity of the Jewish community in the Netherlands, donating $250,000 for rent, taxes, utilities and programming for the first two years of operation.
The center receives no government funding and is dependent entirely on donations to offer services as needed to the approximately 5700 lone soldiers serving in the IDF at any given time.