Supporting Lone Soldiers after Discharge
Every year, hundreds of lone soldiers are discharged from the IDF, including both Israeli natives and new immigrants. While the latter are supported by both the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and by other funds, native Israeli lone soldiers have no family backing, and usually come from Israel’s socio-geographic periphery. Many of them are graduates of out-of-home care institutes or come from foster families; some are in the process of moving from ultra-Orthodox to secular society, while others come from dysfunctional families.
Most of the soldiers in regular service take part in pre-discharge preparatory workshops organized and funded by the Gruss Fund. Together with the Gruss Fund, the Ministry of Welfare locates lone soldiers prior to their discharge using a needs survey. In 2018, more than 250 native Israeli lone soldiers have completed the survey.
Together with the Gruss Fund and the Ministry of Welfare, ‘Lamerhav’ contacts these youngsters after discharge and helps each by tailoring solutions for needs expressed in the survey or new ones emerging after discharge. A hotline remains open to lone soldiers for four years after their discharge, so that even if they do not have immediate needs, they can contact the hotline in the future.
Some of the young adults are referred to long-term programs such as ‘Lamerhav’, while others are referred to short-term dedicated programs, as required. All soldiers receive mediation services from Yated – the National Program for At-Risk Young Adults.
Two pilots are currently being opened for discharged lone soldiers:
- Workshops for prudent economic behavior: Digital workshops for small groups of up to six participants each on banks, consumerism, etc.
- Information center on rights and services: Enabling participants to rely on unique information sources currently used only by workers with at-risk young adults.
Our objective is to make most services (the information center, digital and other workshops, as well as in-depth and long-term support) accessible to all lone soldiers.