A special event for 80 new soldier Olim (new immigrants) who will be drafted into the IDF right after Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), was held at the FIDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Center in Jerusalem.  

The soon-to-be lone soldiers hail from countries across the globe including,  Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy,  Kazakhstan, Mexico, Moldova, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Switzerland, Turkmenistan, UK, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, and Uzbekistan.

At the event, soldiers were awarded grants to help with their transition and enjoyed a barbecue. Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, and Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, Erez Halfon addressed the future soldiers.

“I am so proud to see all these young men and women who made Aliyah with a personal mission to serve the State of Israel,” stated Minister Landver. “These young men and women help guarantee the continued existence of the State of Israel, and so we must guarantee their success and integration into Israeli society. I wish you all a meaningful and productive service and most importantly that you come home safe and sound.”

"While the country is preparing for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, the most Zionist days of the year, we are honored and proud to celebrate with these 80 young future soldiers who are about to join the IDF,” said Erez Halfon, Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “These brave young men and women are the future of the State of Israel. All of them have made Aliyah to Israel with one main cause, which is to protect the Jewish Homeland, and we all salute them, and promise that we will help them to go through their service successfully and to act as their family and home.”

“The FIDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh program has assisted me every step of the way towards fulfilling my dream of serving in the IDF and serving and protecting my country”, said Eziz Halykov, a 21-year-old oleh from Turkmenistan. “Where I come from I had to hide my identity and now I am proud to be able to protect our Jewish State.”

There are currently 2,800 lone soldiers (soldiers who have made Aliyah without their parents) serving in a range of positions in the IDF. For these idealistic soldiers, the draft process is a challenging and intense experience that often involves a difficult process of adapting to both military service, and an independent lifestyle in Israel.

The FIDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program provides a holistic solution that offers guidance, support, and care for all olim lone soldiers at all stages of the process: prior to Aliyah, prior to being drafted, throughout military service in cooperation with FIDF and after release from the IDF when they are adjusting to a civilian life in Israel.

The FIDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, in collaboration with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption assists newly arrived soldiers with their transition into their new lives in Israel and national service, by offering guidance, social and emotional support, quarterly care packages, adoptive families and financial aid, as well as assistance to parents of lone soldiers abroad in the form of information and support. A new service recently added to the Lone Soldier Program is an annual free flight back to their country of origin to visit their parents.

Photos: Sasson Tiram