What happens when a lone soldier without any family in Israel decides to get married while in active service?
Weddings are expensive. There's jewelry to buy for the bride, an engagement party to consider, a suit for the Big Day, wedding hall expenses, paying the caterer, photographer, flowers, music and more.
And what about the couple's new home?
The lone soldier's bride's family will most likely participate in covering the costs, of course – but he himself makes a paltry sum that barely covers his own monthly expenses.
Enter the IDF, which has just decided to help finance wedding expenses for lone soldiers who are in active service.
The decision by OC Human Resources Directorate Maj.-Gen. Avi Zamir has come as a major relief to young idealistic soldiers who have made Aliyah.
David B., who is looking ahead to serving in the IDF several months from now, told Israel National News Thursday he was overjoyed to find out about the decision.
“I want to get married sometime this year,” he said, “but I had no idea how I could possibly do that and still serve in the army. Paying for a wedding is not easy and my parents don't live here. It will be expensive for them, as it is to come for the ceremony.”
According to IDF spokesperson Lt.-Col. Chaya Adler, there are some 5,500 lone soldiers serving in the army. Of those, at least 50 marry each year – and they lose their “lone” status as soon as they do.
IDF soldiers who choose to avail themselves of the new service must marry at Beit HaChayal, the Association for Well-being of IDF Soldiers (AWIS) in Tel Aviv. The guest list must be held to 130 people.
Adler said the army will cover expenses for the bride's wedding dress, a suit for the groom, a photographer, wedding invitations and a DJ. In addition, the IDF will help subsidize airfare for some family members to attend the soldiers' nuptials.
Funds for the initiative will come from donations to AWIS.