The La'Ofek - Hope for the Future organization joined Arutz Sheva - Israel National News to discuss the Ta’asuchayil employment initiative for IDF lone soldiers or other soldiers who lack a supportive network.

"The IDF gives permission to these soldiers to be able to go work," explains Inbar, a representative of the initiative. "When they actually need to find work, though, it's very challenging.''

Inbar explains the project's procedure: "Our project is the only organization officially recognized by the human resources department of the IDF. when soldiers need to work, they approach their officer in charge of service conditions (known as tash in Hebrew), who helps them identify their rights. We give them holistic support throughout their entire service, both to help them find work and support the employers."

The program was launched in 2016 and has helped thousands of needy soldiers. Today, there are some 12,000 needy IDF soldiers whose financial situation weighs heavily on them - as individuals and vis a vis their families. As such, they have difficulty completing their military service.

The initiative does not stop at simply arranging interviews. To maximize the program’s capabilities and services, Ta’asuchayil invests resources in enrichment training for its volunteers, offering a wide variety of courses and workshops

She explains the importance of supporting the employers as well. ''The Israeli workforce is in need of workers - workers that we can provide.'' The organization matches soldiers with workplaces based on the soldier’s skills, geographic location, and availability to work.

The initiative is known to the higher organizational levels of the IDF, and Ta’asuchayil’s network of volunteers and professional staff operate on a national basis making powerful connections with local businesses and organizations — wherever they may be — to ensure employment.

Soldiers at even the lowest ranks are aware of it as well. ''It used to be that a soldier would be permitted to leave, but the commander didn't know anything about the situation. They would then say "You can't leave, or you can leave only after you're done your job.'' These soldiers need to be able to work, they have permission to be able to work, and so we've entered into the system to the point where the commanders actually have our numbers and we have a working relationship with all of the commanders. They know us and we know them.''

Dov, a lone soldier who has benefited from the initiative, explains what it means for him. ''I have very little communication with my family, and it's very difficult for me even in the IDF. Outside the IDF, a soldier supporting himself has a lot more expenses, both in monthly bills and on a daily basis. Having an extra job on my time off really helps me pay the bills, meet new people, and develop myself.''

He explains the hardships facing a soldier trying to find work. ''I call employers and tell them that I might only have a few days a week, or even a month and that it all depends on the situation, and they're not really interested. It's a waste of their time. Ta’asuchayil connected me with places that are not only willing to work with me but also pay me good money and are fun and interesting.''

One of Ta’asuchayil’s strengths is its close interactions with the workforce, local authorities, and tens of businesses throughout the country. ''If we have an employer that needs a full-time job, and we have soldiers that can then meet that need, then we can tell that employer ''We have soldiers one, two, and three who can meet your needs.'' We assist them with all the details of the interview process and the employer gets an employee who is ready to go. It's not only about finding the employee that the employer needs but making sure that the right soldier is working for the right employer.''

Dov says that the initiative has effects on the battlefield as well. ''Whenever I have financial problems it occupies me on a daily basis. Having that extra space in my bank account really allows me to focus on my job.''

Employment, Dov says, is an important way to increase soldiers' confidence. Ta’asuchayil’s volunteers and professional staff closely monitor and guide the soldiers throughout, imbuing them with a feeling of success and accomplishment. As they enter civilian society, they do so, more easily and more openly. ''Whenever I have a conversation with one of the people that help me, I feel really empowered, willing, and wanting to go and do my job the best I can, to protect these people that are helping me."

Inbar agrees: "We have soldiers that come to us and say "I just got out of Gaza right now. I have Sunday, and only Sunday, to make money. It's our job to then come and say ''I have a place for you to be able to go work." When he walks back into Gaza, we don't want him worrying about his bank account, or whether the electricity is going to be turned off while he is in the trenches. When we enable these soldiers to serve with pride, we enable them to finish their service with pride. They're protecting us and it's our turn to protect them."