A 25-year-old lone soldier from an ultra-Orthodox background struggles to make ends meet after his IDF service; MK Itzik Shmuli: ‘Israel removes in one stroke all support for lone soldiers, forgets them and sends them to cope alone in civilian life.’

A lone IDF soldier has spoken out against what he claims to be the IDF’s abandonment of lone soldiers in Israel upon completion of their military service. The military classifies a soldier as “lone” if they have no family in the country or if they are not in contact with their family.

The 25-year-old soldier from a Haredi background—who requested to be identified as Jonathan—said that at age 21 he decided to enlist in the IDF in the Nahal Haredi brigade in which he received recognition for outstanding conduct.

Despite his estrangement from his ultra-Orthodox family after informing them of his decision, he was determined to fulfill his Zionist ideology. Three years later, his successful fulfillment of this dream is no consolation in the face of a dire financial situation.

Jonathan (Photo: Dana Kopel)
Jonathan (Photo: Dana Kopel)


“I have nowhere to be. I have no childhood friends that I am in contact with or family. If they tell me to leave here I will be straight on the street,” he said about his apartment which he rents with three other roommates.

As a lone soldier, he was entitled to certain benefits and food coupons.

“The moment that I took off my uniform the help stopped,” he lamented. “I turned to the body responsible for helping soldiers and they can’t help anyone who has already been released. It is absurd that the day after being discharged they forget the lone soldiers.”

He emphasized that “the day after we are discharged doesn’t mean we are not alone in terms of money and other things. The change into civilian life in one day is extremely hard.”

Working as a waiter, Jonathan described the difficulties of funding even the most basic necessities such as his apartment even though it costs a mere NIS 1,600 per month.

Indeed, he said that he ends up in overdraft and that the apartment owner can simply evict him should he fail to pay the rent.

Itzhik Shmuli Photo: (Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Itzhik Shmuli Photo: (Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


“It’s the cheapest I managed to find. I simply have nowhere to get money from…I ask that people who are able, to help me. It is disheartening for me but I have reached the point where I have no choice and they are about to throw me to the street.”

MK Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union) who chairs the Knesset Lobby for Lone Soldiers eventually had to come to Jonathan’s assistance. He too decried the difficult circumstances in which lone soldiers find themselves upon their return to society.

“The State of Israel removes in one stroke all support for lone soldiers, forgets them and sends them to cope alone in civilian life,” Shmuli said.

“The lone soldier who lacks support from the family has no way of providing shelter, of (enrolling) in higher education and finding an income within just a few weeks,” he added. “It is about time that the state understands that it has a responsibility to this community.”

As reported by Ynetnews