The Israeli government plans to allocate some 10 million shekels ($2.7 million) in funds from the National Insurance Institute to assist discharged IDF lone soldiers, Labor Minister Yoav Ben-Tzur announced this week.
A “lone soldier” is defined by the Israel Defense Forces as one without parents in Israel, or who is estranged from his or her parents.
According to the Lone Soldier Center NGO, 7,000 lone soldiers currently serve in the IDF.
The labor minister’s new project, MiKan (“From Here”), aims to support newly discharged lone soldiers, specifically those suffering from mental health problems, in adjustment to civilian life. Among other initiatives, Ben-Tzur intends to establish emergency housing.
In 2022 alone, more than 400 lone soldiers were released before the end of their service due to mental health issues.
“Signing the budget for the construction of this important project is one of the easiest but most critical aspects of my position,” said Ben-Tzur. “Lone soldiers who are forced to leave the IDF due to a mental health condition have never been given adequate support from the state.”
“Now, for the first time, we will build a home treatment framework for them that will include accommodation, guidance in finding future housing, employment and education,” he said.