Knesset panel: Lone IDF soldiers need more money

There are currently 3,200 lone soldiers – 1,500 from the Former Soviet Union, 1,300 from the US, and the rest from other countries.

December 12, 2013 13:27
1 minute read.
VOLUNTEERS FROM the Lone Soldier Center

VOLUNTEERS FROM the Lone Soldier Center 370. (photo credit: Courtesy: Lone Soldier Center)

The amount of money for rent that lone soldiers receive must increase, Knesset Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) said this week.

A Knesset Research and Information Institute document presented to the committee on Tuesday showed that the monthly stipend of NIS 1,448-NIS 1,649 that IDF soldiers without family in Israel receive to pay rent was decided six years ago, and was not updated according to rising housing prices. In addition, the amount does not change according to where the soldier is stationed, so that someone who has to be in Tel Aviv every day receives the same funding as someone serving in the periphery, despite the disparity in housing costs.

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Chaya Adler, head of the Service Conditions Department in the IDF, said that lone soldiers’ monthly allowance would go up by 21 percent next year, but rent money would not increase.

There are 3,200 lone soldiers in Israel – 1,500 from the former Soviet Union, 1,300 from the US, and the rest from other countries.

Ya’acov Danon, head of the IDF department in the Immigration and Absorption Ministry, said that in his opinion, the most important service lone soldiers receive is guidance, but that “people who provide moral support [to lone soldiers] are missing in my opinion, and it would be great if there were more of them and they were more present.”

Razbozov also called on the IDF and the government to make it easier for lone soldiers to learn their rights, such as the rent money to which they are entitled.

Three couples, at least one of each pair being a lone soldier, attended the meeting and complained about the policy in which lone soldiers lose their benefits when they get married.

“After getting married, a lone soldier can’t live with three or four roommates and needs even more help with rent,” Menahem Semel, a former lone soldier, said. “We also lose the benefit of a free flight abroad to visit our families.”

Razbozov called to change the rules so that they would apply to married as well as unmarried lone soldiers.

“We want to give lone soldiers a good experience in their army service and time in Israel so they convince their families to move here, too,” Razbozov said.

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