MKs advance bill to assist lone soldiers after release
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MKs advance bill to assist lone soldiers after release

Proposed legislation would provide financial help following completion of military service

Illustrative photo of an IDF exercise near the Gaza Border on November 19, 2014. (Amit Shechter/IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flickr)
Illustrative photo of an IDF exercise near the Gaza Border on November 19, 2014. (Amit Shechter/IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flickr)

Two Israeli lawmakers have advanced legislation that would grant recently released lone soldiers financial assistance after they finish their military service.

The law, proposed by MKs Yulia Malinovsky (Yisrael Beytenu) and Itzik Shmuli (Zionist Union), will set up a new fund for recently released lone soldiers that will receive NIS 12 million a year ($3 million) and will disburse NIS 1,000 ($250) a month for a year to them following their release.

The bill is to go to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Monday for the initial approval needed before going to a Knesset vote.

According to The Lone Soldier Center, an organization that assists lone soldiers during and after their military service, there are 5,700 lone soldiers currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Of these, 45 percent are new immigrants, while the rest are Israelis classified as lone soldiers due to difficult familial situations.

Malinovsky and Shmuli said in a press release that it is incumbent upon the government to help lone soldiers after their army service. The law, they said, will help integrate them into Israeli society, as well as better recognize the contribution they made to Israel.

“We have a moral obligation as a society to care for lone soldiers who served in the IDF and want to live here in Israel,” Malinovsky said.

Lone soldiers and new immigrants from North America celebrate Thanksgiving. (Courtesy photo/NBN/Laura Ben-David)
Lone soldiers and new immigrants from North America celebrate Thanksgiving. (Courtesy/NBN/Laura Ben-David)

Currently, lone soldiers receive an additional NIS 1,000 ($250) each month in addition to their salary. They also receive around NIS 400 ($100) from both the Housing and Absorption ministries, and are eligible for additional financial assistance to help pay their rent.

After finishing the army, all Israeli soldiers receive a bonus ranging from NIS 9,000 ($2,300) to NIS 20,000 ($5,160), depending on the amount of time served and on the type of unit. But lone soldiers are left in a much more difficult financial situation than others, with more expenses they must cover themselves.

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