Moving to a new country is no easy task in the best of circumstances. Moving to a new country and volunteering to join its army carries with it even more challenges. That is what 1,600 lone Israeli soldiers (soldiers who move to Israel by themselves) faced until Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, FIDF and Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization dedicated to revitalizing immigration from the USA, Canada and the UK, joined forces to help.
The organizations understood all too well that getting an Israeli driver’s license and bank account, bypassing bureaucratic obstacles, claiming one’s immigrant rights, learning about educational opportunities and more all while protecting Israel’s borders from a relentless enemy is a time-consuming, if not near-impossible task. Therefore, rather than have the volunteer soldiers run around settling their lives, “A Day to Get Organized” (Yom Siddurim in Hebrew) was arranged.
“This was an emotional, impressive and bonding day for all who attended,” told Brigadier General Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only Israeli government and Ministry of Defense sanctioned organization filing the financial and social gaps of the Israel Defense Force budget through donations, to Breaking Israel News. “Seeing these young people, who have left their families and land of birth to protect Israel and her citizens, is a humbling experience. We are grateful that we were able to help them in such a valuable way to settle into the Holy Land.”
Yom Siddurim took place in Beit HaChayalim (House for Soldiers) in Tel Aviv. The hard work and outstanding organization significantly eased the lives of the dedicated young immigrants who hailed from 78 countries around the world.
This “all under one roof” opportunity for soldiers to get their new lives in Israel in order energized all who attended. Over 60 vendors, including all government offices relevant to immigrants, took part in the event.
Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only official, Israeli government sanctioned organization supporting Israel’s soldiers, bused in the participants. “Part of Yahad’s responsibility to soldiers is to ease the adjustment that lone soldiers face in their new country of choice,” continued Gozal. “This event not only streamlines so much bureaucracy but also unites so many lone soldiers. The social atmosphere at the event is important as well.”
One example of this full-service event was the efficiency that was arranged for soldiers to receive their Israeli driver’s licenses. Usually, it is necessary go to one office to receive licensing paperwork, another to take a picture, another to get one’s eyes checked and another to take the actual driving test. Here, everything was done in one spot. Optometrist Tal Saltzman wrote on Facebook, “Honored to be doing the eye exams for the driving test for all the lone soldiers.”
A soldier posted, “I got here nice and early and took my road test and got my driver’s license which I’ve been trying to finish the process of for over a year! I got a massage, which was amazing, since I am so sore from the army, so that was really nice. Now I’m getting my biometric passport and biometric Teudat Zehut [identity card] from Misrad Hapnim [Ministry of the Interior].”
“This was an amazing logistical feet,” noted Gozal to Breaking Israel News. “Members from the Knesset, Ministry of Absorption, army, and more were all here recognizing that we must do all that we can to help lone soldiers. These young people move to Israel because of their love of the Holy Land. We must show them our love and appreciation.”
Sam Schick, originally from Antwerp, Belgium, said that he has been serving in the Israeli army for about 2 years. “This day has been an amazing help,” he said. “Soldiers are only given one day off a month to take care of their personal needs. Packing all of these services into one place saves people a lot of time and it’s clear that they went to great lengths and efforts to help the soldiers.”
To donate to Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, please visit here.