IDF soldiers take part in a ceremony marking the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd .
The Immigration and Absorption Ministry announced Sunday that it has expanded the time frame of eligibility for benefits for Ethiopian olim serving in the IDF.
While previously, they could receive benefits if they enlisted within 10 years of their aliya, they now have 15 years to join the military.
As a result, hundreds of additional soldiers will receive the benefit, in the form of a monetary grant in addition to both the regular military salary as well as the grant provided to all olim who serve in the IDF.
The soldiers will receive either NIS 352 or NIS 540 additional per month throughout their mandatory service, based on the ministry’s criteria for lone soldiers and immigrant soldiers Over the course of 2016, the ministry distributed grants to some 7,500 soldiers in compulsory service A source in the field of immigrant absorption said that the decision only applies to Ethiopian olim, due to the low socioeconomic status of the sector. Pointing out that many Ethiopian immigrants have to work during their army service and that many need to support their families during that time, he highlighted that this is a population which needs the extra assistance.
The ministry said that this latest decision will have a significant impact on the nature of the soldiers’ service and their swift and successful integration into the army.
“We know that the IDF is the primary door of entry into Israeli society and the key to a good absorption and assimilation into Israel’s society, culture and later its job market,” said Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Lander.
“Therefore, improving the conditions of IDF enlistment and service of immigrant soldiers is essential for the integration of these soldiers into Israeli society and will serve the olim for many years to come,” she continued, adding that she expects that the positive repercussions of the decision will be visible in the near future.
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