New aid package geared towards discharged lone soldiers announced

Though the grant amounts to NIS 4,500, the Defense Ministry says rental assistance for discharged lone soldiers.

ISRAELI SOLDIERS patrol in Hebron, June 2020 (photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)
ISRAELI SOLDIERS patrol in Hebron, June 2020
(photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)
Just days after the Defense Ministry announced that it could no longer provide rental subsidies to discharged lone soldiers, it was announced that Israelis discharged from the IDF in the past year will receive an aid package, and the rental assistance will be reinstated.
The announcement of the “special assistance package” was made by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Israel Katz, and Minister in the Defense Ministry Michael Biton.
According to the ministers, the package is geared toward those who have been released in the past year, “with an emphasis on lone soldiers and those who are entitled to family payments.”
The package will be done in a graded manner, so that discharged lone soldiers and those entitled to family payments will receive a grant of NIS 4,500, higher than other soldiers released in the past year. Discharged soldiers who served more than 22 months will receive NIS 1,800, while those who served less than 22 months or those who did their national service will receive NIS 1,000.
It was also decided to extend by another year the period during which those discharged in 2019 and 2020 are able to work in preferential jobs, so that they will be less affected by the financial crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
They will also receive dedicated professional training and employment placement tools in order to help them find work.
“The tracks are expected to increase employment rates among discharged soldiers and lead to an increase in wages in industries where there is demand, and thus increase productivity and GDP over time,” read the statement released on Wednesday.
Gantz also announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Defense Ministry will transfer to the bank accounts of discharged lone soldiers who are entitled to rental assistance “all the payments to which they are entitled.”
The transfer of the funds will be made “quickly,” Gantz tweeted.
Earlier on Wednesday, the defense minister said that “one of the populations most affected by the corona crisis is the discharged soldiers, who are not entitled to unemployment benefits. We will not leave any soldiers behind, and we will make every effort to help them get through the crisis, and emerge stronger.”
“It is precisely during this period that we must give to discharged soldiers, who have just finished their contribution to the security of the State of Israel,” said Katz, adding that “we will continue to assist them and provide as broad support as is necessary.”
Biton said that the ministry recognized the “severe damage” that the fallout from the coronavirus was causing to discharged soldiers, and that the package “is in addition to a number of different actions” that the ministries have taken “to assist discharged soldiers and lone soldiers in particular.”
“I hope that we will be able to initiate and implement more programs and moves for them,” Biton added.
Throughout the crisis, the Finance and Defense ministries have announced multiple packages for soldiers discharged from the military over the past year, totaling over NIS 14,000 for each soldier.
Nevertheless, there’s been a record demand for financial assistance by lone soldiers and soldiers from low-income families, due to the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.
Many have requested to extend their mandatory service, even by just a few more months, because of the lack of jobs available, due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Many others have gone to charities for food and housing assistance.