More than half of all 7,700 lone soldiers in the IDF, 4,372, have submitted requests for grants from the army due to financial debts, according to information supplied by the IDF to the Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee on Wednesday.
In a joint discussion with the Economy Committee chaired by MK David Bitan (Likud), the fact that almost half are also affected by bank sanctions is “unbelievable,” committee chairman Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer said.
“That’s why I scheduled this important discussion with the representatives of the banks, government ministries and defense organizations, calling for special consideration to be given to the population of lone soldiers who find themselves in financial debt, damaged in their credit rating and without financial assistance and guidance from their families.”
Bitan added that the “data certainly indicates that the issue requires treatment.” He added that he intends to “check this in-depth with the Bank of Israel and the supervisor of the banks, as well as with the banks themselves. The Bank of Israel does not work for the banks, but banks can give specific instructions regarding individual soldiers beyond the debt settlement problems that the entire population has. It is time that the Bank of Israel will fight the banks and will not help them generate more profits.
“We have a very deep appreciation for the contribution of the lone soldiers to our country and we certainly will not leave them to face the debts and the banking system alone,” Bitan said.
“We have a very deep appreciation for the contribution of the lone soldiers to our country and we certainly will not leave them to face the debts and the banking system alone.”David Bitan
How does the IDF help lone soldiers struggling financially?
The IDF helps soldiers who are struggling financially with grants. An average grant of NIS 450 per month, special loans, and giving lone soldiers days for them to can work and pay their debts.
IDF Lt.-Col. Inbar Sitbon, from the IDF’s Meitav unit, said during the discussion that there are lone soldiers with official debts to banks, credit companies or cell phone companies. “There are also cases of debts to private individuals on the gray market,” she said.
According to Bank of Israel data, there are 848 customers and disabled accounts of clients whose age ranges between 18-21, by virtue of the Uncovered Checks Law. The Bank of Israel emphasized that the information in their possession does not clarify if these clients are soldiers.
Forer and Bitan said they asked the IDF “to give a one-time-grant to the lone soldiers in honor of the 75th anniversary of the independence of the State of Israel of NIS 7,500.” They also asked the Bank of Israel “to draft an amendment to the regulations for the justice minister, that will annul the debts of lone soldiers so that after the debts are written off, the credit rating of those soldiers won’t be harmed.”