The Israel Defense Force (IDF) is often referred to as, “The people’s army.” This is due to the fact that its soldiers are not only native Israelis but also people from all over the world. Additionally, with the rise of enlistment from Biblically observant men and women, this all-inclusive army faces many obstacles.
One challenge is helping the nearly 6,000 “lone” soldiers who have either volunteered to dedicate three years of their lives protecting the Holy Land or who are estranged from their homes in Israel. Where can they live? Who will care for them?
Who will guide them through Israel’s bureaucracy?
Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers, the only government sanctioned organization tasked with IDF soldier welfare, provides many important programs and opportunities for Israel’s lone soldiers. This is the only organization where 100 percent of every donation goes where it was intended, to help Israel’s soldiers.
“While IDF soldiers with family in Israel have a place to go home to for Shabbat, holidays or when given a break from their service, lone soldiers have no place to call home,” explained General (res.) Yehiel Gozal, CEO of Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers to Breaking Israel News. “Yahad takes very seriously the challenges of lone soldiers and does all it can to ease their adjustment into both Israel’s army as well as Israeli society.”
Recognizing that IDF soldiers need a place to have some down time and to call, “home”, the organization just opened a new lone soldiers’ apartment. As donations come in for this important project, additional apartments will become available.
“We have set up beautiful apartments for lone soldiers that include appliances, a private room for each of the three soldiers living there, TV with games, stocked kitchen and, perhaps, most importantly, a caring counselor to guide them and help them with their struggles,” continued Gozal. “The positive feedback and gratitude has been heartwarming.”
Bruno Herbach Roussenq, a lone soldier who received a room in Yahad’s newest facility and serves in the IDF’s “Search and Rescue Unit” shared that it is hard to be alone in the army. “There are very good weeks and there are weeks that I miss my family,” he said. “Being in the army, to get quiet is to put music on maximum volume. That’s how I go to my quiet place by. To get here and to have my own room, it feels like my own home. Thank you very much.”
In addition to lone soldier apartments, Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers provides prepaid shopping vouchers before holidays and for soldiers from impoverished homes, classes to learn Hebrew, Israeli culture and trips that explore the holy city of Jerusalem. It also organizes a day where all government office representatives sit in one area in order to smooth out much of the bureaucracy immigrants face and subsidize post army university education, in recognition of the great sacrifices that soldiers make to protect Israel and more.
“Lone soldiers can face immense difficulties when joining the Israeli army and trying to make a life for themselves in a foreign land,” noted Gozal. “We feel it is our duty to ensure as smooth of an adjustment for these dedicated warriors to both the army as well as their civilian life. We take this responsibility very seriously and do what we can to help.”
To donate to the welfare of Israel’s soldiers, please click here.
Written in cooperation with Yahad-United for Israel’s Soldiers.