Lone Soldiers in the IDF
Lone Soldiers in the IDFIsrael news photo: Ricki Rosen

The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin was founded in 2009 by a group of former lone soldiers who are aware of and concerned with the needs and struggles of the more than 5,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF.

The Lone Soldier Center is the first and only organization solely dedicated to meeting all of the physical and social needs of lone soldiers.

Lone soldiers are people who make aliyah without their parents and do their service in the IDF. They give of themselves for the benefit of the State of Israel and serve as role models and links to Israel for Jews around the world.

Tziki Aud of the Lone Soldier Center told Arutz Sheva that these young men and women come to Israel because of their “Zionism, feeling that they want to be part of the Israeli people. Many of them say that their parents or grandparents used to send money to Israel, and they are coming to stand arm in arm with Israelis in protecting their borders.”

The Lone Soldier Center, Aud explained, is based on people who themselves used to be lone soldiers and who are now helping other lone soldiers.

“This is a community of lone soldiers that absorbs newcomers and assists them in their social activities, the feeling that they are not alone in whatever they do,” he said. “These ex-lone soldiers who are working or studying take time off to visit these soldiers who are now alone.”

Michael Levin, after whom the center is named, was himself a lone soldier who died during the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

Levin, who cut short a vacation in the U.S. in order to rejoin his unit and fight in the war, was sent to the village of Aita al-Shaab in Lebanon, a Hizbullah stronghold to where soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev had been taken. On, August 1, 2006, Levin died during an intense fire-fight with Hizbullah terrorists.

Aud said that Levin’s vision had been to establish a center where lone soldiers could get together.

“He talked all the time about the need to have some kind of recreation center,” he said. “I must admit that I didn’t understand what he spoke about when he was alive. Only after he was killed, when I used to sit more and more with lone soldiers, did I understand what he said.”