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      New IDF Lone Soldier Assistance Hotline

      The IDF has developed a new hotline to help lone soldiers after behaviorists said the troops needed more support.
      By Chana Ya'ar
      First Publish: 5/19/2011, 10:45 AM / Last Update: 5/20/2011, 8:47 AM

      Ricki Rosen

      Lone soldiers without family in Israel will be getting more support from the IDF during their active service.

      The decision comes following a study conducted last year by the IDF Behavioral Science Department. Researchers found that most of those surveyed felt they needed more support from the military than they were receiving.

      Studies have shown that most lone soldiers wish to remain in Israel after their service ends. However, the service period, although their own choice, is difficult when one's family is far away. There are spontaneous efforts made by rabbis and public figures, businesses and the public to help, but more is needed, say the researchers.

      In response, OC Human Resources Directorate Maj.-Gen. Avi Zamir decided to establish a “Lone Soldiers Department” to care for their needs.

      There are some 5,500 lone soldiers serving at present in the IDF, according to IDF spokesperson Lt.-Col. Chaya Adler.

      The IDF recently decided to pay for  lone soldier's weddings.

      Among the services provided by the department is a new 24-hour support hotline for lone soldiers who need help during service, and even while they are on leave.

      The hotline is also available to civilians who wish to donate money or supplies to Beit HaChayal, the Association for the Well-being of IDF Soldiers (AWIS).

      For those who wish to invite lone soldiers to their homes or otherwise assist, one can call the new Lone Soldier Assistance Hotline at 03-737-5200.