Over 300 lone soldiers enlist in IDF through Tzofim Garin Tzabar

About 80% of the program's participants remain in Israel following their discharge from the army.

August 16, 2019 00:24
3 minute read.
Over 300 lone soldiers enlist in IDF through Tzofim Garin Tzabar

Lone soldiers enlist in IDF through Tzofim Garin Tzabar . (photo credit: TZOFIM GARIN TZABAR)

A group of 305 young lone soldiers are beginning their journey with the IDF through the Scout’s Tzofim Garin Tzabar program following their welcome ceremony in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
The ceremony was attended by Aliyah and Integration Minister Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yoav Gallant and Dr. Miriam Adelson, as well as Sara Netanyahu and representatives from the IDF and the Scouts among others.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin sent filmed greeting to the new recruits, congratulating them on their choice to join the IDF as lone soldiers.
Welcoming the new recruits “home,” Netanyahu said that his family knows the Tzofim Garin Tzabar program “up close” after learning about it from their son Avner.
“He came home and told us ‘I so appreciate them. Young soldiers, men and women who come from all over the world and who have left their families to come to Israel to serve in the army. What perseverance, solidarity and commitment.’ And that is exactly what I say: what perseverance, what solidarity and commitment,” Netanyahu said, adding that they should “know that it is on behalf of all the citizens of Israel when I say that we have endless appreciation for you, and we all welcome you home.”
In a video message to the crowd, President Reuven Rivlin welcomed the new recruits who “decided to make aliyah and join the Israeli Defense Forces to guard our home: the home of the people and the Jewish homeland.”
“Some of you are at the beginning of the journey as new citizens of the State of Israel and some of you have already enlisted and you are serving in the various units in the IDF. The decision to leave friends and home, and immigrate to Israel is a very courageous decision. You are an example. Be welcome: be strong. You are the real Zionists. You won – and we won, too."
Minister of Immigration and Absorption Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Gallant welcomed the new recruits who are set to serve in the IDF in the coming months, reminiscing on his time spent in the Scout movement and calling the Tzofim Garin Tzabar an “important element” for the strength and security of Israel.
“As someone who has served for many years in the IDF, I know the volunteerism and the significant work done in the IDF by immigrants in the framework of Tzofim Garin Tzabar. The decision of the young men and women to leave the country where they were born, their friends and family, to enlist and serve in the IDF – to even risk their lives for the State of Israel to maintain its security – involves volunteering and sacrifice,” Gallant said.

ELAD SANDROVITZ, CEO of Tzofim Garin Tzabar welcomed the new recruits, calling them “pioneers” and wished them a meaningful and safe service.
“The story of immigrants today is the story of today’s pioneers. A story of ideology, of giving and of fulfillment. They know that they will face many difficulties, but they will succeed along with the strong Tzofim Garin Tzabar community,” he said, adding that “The Tzofim Garin Tzabar community is the real reason that they will not really be lone soldiers.”
Founded in 1991, Tzofim Garin Tzabar helps young Jews and Israelis living abroad who want to return to Israel to serve in the IDF. There are 1,100 soldiers currently serving active duty who came through the program, 30% of whom are career officers. Of the women, 18% will be serving in combat units, more than three times the 5.5% of Israeli women who draft into combat unit.
The program requires participants to serve a minimum of two years in the army and provides them with housing and support. Upon their arrival in Israel, participants are “adopted by an Israel community that quickly becomes their home away from home, throughout the duration of their army service.”
With no help or guidance through Israel’s bureaucracy, daunting even for those born in Israel, many lone soldiers face challenges with little or no assistance. And that has led to a significant number leaving Israel once they have completed their service.
Still, about 80% of the participants in the Tzofim Garin Tzabar program remain in Israel following their discharge from the army.

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