Hundreds of Diaspora Jews who have volunteered to serve in the Israeli army and were recently discharged have stopped receiving their basic veteran stipends. The reason, as many discovered following lengthy inquiries: With no functioning government in Israel, the Defense Ministry is not authorized to transfer the money to them.
This loss of a key form of financial support for many of these so-called lone soldiers comes just as the army has unveiled a grand plan to increase assistance to them. As reported in Haaretz last week, the IDF intends to inaugurate a new support center for lone soldiers at the end of February at its Tel Hashomer base outside Tel Aviv.
This new center is meant to tend to all the needs of lone soldiers before, during and immediately after their service. The move comes after a Haaretz investigation revealed serious failings in the lone soldier program. It reflects the army’s seeming resolve to take full responsibility for the plight of these recruits rather than outsource their care to private organizations that rely primarily on donors.
>> What’s killing Israel’s lone soldiers? Read the full Haaretz investigation
– Judy Maltz talks about her investigation into lone soldiers suicides