Released lone soldiers to receive NIS 8,000 for housing assistance

Funds are in addition to earlier NIS 4,000 provided by Defense Ministry due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

170 lone soldiers at the IDF's quarantine center in Olga (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
170 lone soldiers at the IDF's quarantine center in Olga
The government on Wednesday approved an additional grant of NIS 4,000 ($1,400) for recently discharged lone soldiers, allowing them to withdraw up to NIS 8,000 to help them during the economic crisis caused by the novel coronavirus.
The extended aid will be earmarked for the released lone soldiers who either don’t have family in Israel or aren’t financially supported by their family and will come from an additional NIS 8 million fund from the Defense Ministry and the Defense Ministry’s Foundation for Released Soldiers.
The funds will be automatically wired to the former lone soldiers’ bank accounts without having to apply again, the Defense Ministry said.
Released lone soldiers who meet the criteria and did not use their funds in May when the ministry first gave NIS 4,000 will be able to receive the full amount “after submitting the relevant documents,” the ministry said.
To qualify for the grant, the soldier must be in the first year of their release and had a housing lease in effect during the crisis period, from the beginning of March until May 31, 2020. Lone soldiers who have not yet applied for housing assistance can register on the website of the Foundation for discharged soldiers by July 10, 2020.
With many lone soldiers discharged less than six months before the coronavirus pandemic, they do not qualify for unemployment benefits from the state because they have not accumulated enough time as citizens with employment.
The additional grant comes after lone soldiers complained that they had not received any funds and some were even kicked out of their apartments by landlords after they were unable to pay their rent.
One soldier, who had been discharged from the IDF in April, was reported by Army Radio to have been living on the street for two days in late June before being taken in by a family in southern Israel who would house him and help him find work.
But with 300,000 people, roughly 7.5%, unemployed in Israel (compared to just 3.9% before the crisis hit), many Israelis have found themselves in severe financial distress, especially lone soldiers who relied on external jobs to make ends meet.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the IDF distributed “rapid grants” of NIS 600 (around $170) to the 6,000 lone soldiers in the military and another 3,000 troops who required financial assistance. One-time grants of between NIS 500 to NIS 1,200 ($140-$330) were also distributed to soldiers who are married with children.
In light of the ongoing crisis, lone soldiers who are due to be released from the IDF have also been given the opportunity to remain in the military.