Over 1,000 lone soldiers from around the world serving in multiple Israel Defense Forces (IDF) units convened on Thursday at Beit HaChayal in Tel Aviv for a special “National Personal Planning Day” (Yom Siddurim), according to a statement released by Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) on Thursday.

Organizing this opportunity to handle important personal affairs was the Nefesh B'Nefesh (NBN) and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) Lone Soldier Program, in cooperation with the IDF Human Resources Department, Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Ministry of Interior, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael.

All IDF lone soldiers – immigrants who come to Israel without their immediate families to serve in the IDF – are entitled once every two months to take a Personal Planning Day, an important opportunity to attend to his or her personal affairs, such as bureaucratic paperwork, banking and other essential needs. After discussions with soldiers and IDF social workers, it became clear last year that many lone soldiers were unable to take care of their myriad of personal matters in the time allotted to them and they therefore needed further assistance to help with these issues.

Following the enormous success of last year’s inaugural Personal Planning Day, the IDF issued a directive to military units to release all lone soldiers on Thursday, which resulted in almost doubling the turnout from last year.

The Lone Soldier Program invited the essential civilian agencies whose services are needed by lone soldiers, to convene on the same day, under one roof, and assist the lone soldiers with their personal matters. Among the participating agencies were: the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Student Licensing Office, Ministry of Housing, Automobile License Authority, Israel Tax Authority, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Ha'aguda Lema'an Hachayal,Discharged Soldiers Guidance Department, Electric Company of Israel, Ktseen Ha’air, the Post Office, Bank of Israel and more.

According to the statement released by Nefesh B'nefesh, about 2,700 lone soldiers currently serve in the IDF including 860 from the U.S., 471 from Russia, 300 from Ukraine, 220 from France, 78 from Canada, 74 from Britain, 71 from Belarus, 51 from Moldova, 39 from Australia, 37 from South Africa, 37 from Kazakhstan, 30 from Uzbekistan, 33 from Argentina, 29 from Brazil, 21 from Mexico, 22 from Colombia, 23 from Germany, 21 from Italy, 21 from Azerbaijan, 21 from Venezuela, 17 from Georgia, 17 from Belgium, 12 from Uruguay, 12 from Spain, 7 from Peru, 9 from Guatemala, 8 from Hungary, 6 from Sweden, and soldiers from dozens of other countries such as Armenia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Turkmenistan.

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