Despite the pandemic 78 future lone soldiers arrive in Israel

Two groups of 78 future lone soldiers landed in Israel on Monday in two designated Aliyah flights organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh, and 50 bout 50 more olim are expected to follow in the next few days.

Lone soldiers landing in Israel on Monday, July 27, 2020. (photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)
Lone soldiers landing in Israel on Monday, July 27, 2020.
(photo credit: YONIT SCHILLER)
While coronavirus has forced many to cancel trips and vacations, it hasn't stopped 120 young Americans from making the decision to make aliyah to Israel and enlist in the IDF.
Two groups of 78 future lone soldiers landed in Israel on Monday in two designated aliyah flights organized by Nefesh B'Nefesh, a nonprofit organization that promotes and arranges Aliyah groups from the US, Canada and the UK. About 50 more olim (immigrants) are expected to follow in the next few days.
The recent arrivals are a product of the Nefesh B'Nefesh and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) Lone Soldiers Program, and were coordinated in cooperation with Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Ministry, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, JNF-USA and Tzofim-Garin Tzabar.
"Lone soldiers" is a term that mostly refers to volunteers who come to Israel to serve in the IDF and do not have immediate family in Israel to support them during their service. As part of their enlistment, the participants become Israeli citizens.
Lone soldiers landing in Israel on Monday, July 27, 2020 (Credit: Yonit Schiller)Lone soldiers landing in Israel on Monday, July 27, 2020 (Credit: Yonit Schiller)
"These young men and women who chose to make Aliyah from North America and will enlist in the IDF to serve in the front lines of Israel’s defense and security are our people’s greatest pride," said Aliyah and Integration Minister MK Pnina Tamano-Shata. “We support and assist lone soldiers that made aliyah through a variety of meaningful programs, and I intend to further expand their rights and benefits. Along with the citizens of Israel, I salute them as an inspiration to us all," she added.
Once enlisted, these olim become part of the Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) Lone Soldiers Program which cares for thousands of lone soldiers from around the world currently in active service. This program, fully supported by the IDF, offers guidance, suppor, and care for all lone soldier who've made aliyah during each stage of their service, after their release and during the adjustment stages to civilian life, as many choose to stay in Israel after completing their service.
“Military service in the IDF is difficult and challenging for every soldier, and even more so for Lone Soldiers. Their decision to come to Israel and enlist in the IDF is a brave and noble act, one that is rooted in a deep sense of mission, determination, and love of the State of Israel. This is true Zionism,” said FIDF director Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.
The past few months have seen a dramatic rise in people interested in making aliyah. Since the beginning of April 2020, 3,495 aliyah applications were submitted to Nefesh B'Nefesh, in comparison to 1,373 over the same time period in 2019, signaling a 155% increase in aliyah interest.