The term “lone IDF soldier” usually refers to olim without families in Israel but now includes hareidi religious youth rejected by their families for abandoning their way of life that precludes army service.
Army service of hareidi religious youth has been an ongoing controversy in Israel, where the IDF had created a special hareidi religious unit in addition to the Hesder Yeshiva program that reduces a soldier’s service by one year and allows him to learn Torah for three years.
A political battle has been taking place behind the scenes in the IDF the past several months as secular and often left-wing elements have looked over their shoulders at the growing prominence of religious soldiers, from both the hareidi and national religious communities.
Most Israel-born soldiers who have been rejected by their families are from hareidi religious communities, Tzur Od, adviser to lone soldiers, told Arutz Sheva.
He said that the Center for Helping Lone Soldiers assists them to integrate in society while not pushing them away from continuing their religious lives.
Many hareidi religious communities totally reject service in the IDF for reasons of ideology that young men should study Torah day and night and for objections to their being exposed to secular Jews, often in mixed company with women, in the IDF.
The “lone soldier” program in Israel usually provides help for olim –immigrants to Israel – who moved to the country by themselves, leaving their families in the Diaspora.