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IDF launches multifaceted plan to improve quality of life for combat soldiers

Some bases will be outfitted with entertainment rooms, including televisions and game consoles, as well as mobile fitness areas featuring weights and other workout equipment.

Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade eat a Passover meal. Credit: Edi Israel/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers of the Golani Brigade eat a Passover meal. Credit: Edi Israel/Flash90.

A new program to improve the quality of life of combat soldiers, initiated by soon-to-be-former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, will include increased budgets for upgrades to service conditions.

According to the plan, battalion commanders will be given the right to allocate special funds up to NIS 150,000 (about $40,000) for purchases they see fit to make for their battalions. The effort aims to improve conditions for soldiers, as well as to reduce reliance on outside donations.

Each battalion will also receive a 30-day car rental to be used by soldiers with the authorization of the battalion commander.

Some bases will be outfitted with entertainment rooms, including televisions and game consoles, as well as mobile fitness areas featuring weights and other workout equipment.

The program also seeks to make army doctors more efficient by reducing the amount of time spent on unrelated tasks and assignments on base.

An app is also in development that will enable soldiers to learn more about their rights during service.

During his four years as chief of staff, Eizenkot doubled salaries for combat soldiers, gave bonuses of NIS 2,000 ($550) to troops reaching their third year of service and invested in improvements in army bases, particularly in the north. He also introduced a grant for discharged combat soldiers to go toward three years of post-army higher education.

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