IDF to cover academic tuition costs for combat soldiers
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IDF to cover academic tuition costs for combat soldiers

Scholarships, drawn from donations, will also be awarded to immigrants, minorities, and underprivileged servicemembers

Israeli infantry soldiers get ready to walk to their armored personnel carriers to take up new positions on the Israel-Gaza border, Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Israeli infantry soldiers get ready to walk to their armored personnel carriers to take up new positions on the Israel-Gaza border, Saturday, July 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Beginning in October, combat soldiers will receive full scholarships from the Israel Defense Forces for their academic studies upon their discharge from the military.

According to a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Monday, soldiers that recently immigrated, or are from minority groups or from underprivileged backgrounds, will also be eligible for the benefits even if they did not serve in a combat unit.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot is seeking to extend the program to all Israeli soldiers who complete their service, the report said.

Eisenkot met with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon on Sunday and the two agreed to roll out the program in the fall.

The IDF chief instructed that donations to the Israeli army be allocated for the scholarships for combat fighters.

“The money will go toward bachelor degrees rather than a gym. This is what will build up the army,” Eisenkot was quoted as saying.

During the meeting on Sunday night, Kahlon also reportedly expressed willingness to expand the program to all soldiers upon their release.

The report said the scholarships for combat soldiers were expected to cost NIS 230 million ($60 million) a year, and for all soldiers an additional NIS 500 million ($130 million).

There was no immediate confirmation from the army.

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