ABOUT LONE SOLDIERS
Lone soldiers may be young men and woman from abroad who have chosen to leave everything behind and come to Israel on their own to enlist in the IDF, or Israeli born young people from disadvantaged backgrounds or estranged from their families, who despite a multitude of difficulties, choose meaningful IDF service.
They are very idealistic and motivated, but their army service is often very difficult because they do not have the logistical help and loving support that families usually provide.
As soon as soldiers come home on leave for the weekend, the countdown begins to get everything organized before they have to return to their units early on Sunday morning.
When they are on leave they have nowhere to go that offers them a family environment. They must seek out places to stay, figure out a way to do their laundry, grab an inexpensive meal, or take care of personal errands. Instead of using this precious free time to catch up on some sleep and well-earned relaxation, they must fend for themselves.
The country’s small size means that soldiers are never very far from home. Whether living in the South and serving in the North or vice versa, a soldier is at worst only a few hours’ drive away from his/her family. Accordingly, service time is structured to allow soldiers to spend every third or even second weekend away from their base (as seen every Friday and Sunday morning with every bus and train terminal overflowing with khaki).
Since frequent weekends and vacations at home with one’s family are part and parcel of IDF service, military bases are not planned for lengthy stays – e.g., laundry services are poor, as are leisure and recreation opportunities. This means that soldiers who are disconnected from their families are very much at a loose end during leave weekends and vacations. The base empties as their friends rush off, and they are left to fend for themselves, either at the base or at various makeshift facilities provided by the army.
While their friends are being welcomed and fussed over at home by their families, lone soldiers are left on their own, often feeling isolated, lonely and uncared for.
WHO ARE LONE SOLDIERS?
IDF COMBAT SERVICE
Every rank in the army has an important and vital role to play in the defense of the country, but combat service is unique in its dangers and challenges.
Combat training – with its endless physical training, exhausting navigation trips and exercises - stretches the soldiers to their very limits, physically and emotionally. As soldiers progress to active service, the challenges become even greater. IDF combat soldiers patrol the borders, guard road blocks, track infiltrating terrorists and keep the country safe.
More than any other, combat soldiers need and deserve the respite that only a true home can give. For this reason, the Benji Hillman Foundation decided to dedicate its efforts to providing lone combat soldiers with a permanent and caring home for the duration of their service.
There are currently some 1,000 lone combat soldiers serving in the IDF.
Please help us provide them with the love and care they deserve, your donation helps us keep the Bayit (Home) and Guidance Center running.