The majority of lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces are in debt and seeking financial aid to remedy their situation, according to the IDF.
Lone soldiers are those in active service whose parents do not live in Israel, or who have a severed relationship with both parents. Lacking familial support, lone soldiers receive special benefits during their IDF service, including financial aid, housing assistance and extra leave and errand days.
The Jerusalem Post reported this week that 4,372 out of the 7,700 lone soldiers currently serving in the IDF have requested grants from the military. In a discussion on Wednesday led by Knesset Member David Bitan, the Israeli parliament’s Economy Committee and Aliyah, Absorption and Diaspora Committee met to consider ways the government can help relieve financial pressure on the IDF’s lone soldiers.
Bitan said the meeting’s purpose was to call for “special consideration to be given to the population of lone soldiers who find themselves in financial debt, damaged in their credit rating and without financial assistance and guidance from their families.”
He seemed to imply that Israel’s private banks have a financial incentive to keep lone soldiers in unnecessary debt and called upon Israel’s central bank, the Bank of Israel, to “fight the banks.”
“The Bank of Israel does not work for the banks, but banks can give specific instructions regarding individual soldiers beyond the debt settlement problems that the entire population has,” Bitan said. “It is time that the Bank of Israel will fight the banks and will not help them generate more profits.”
Bitan promised that the Israeli government “will not leave [lone soldiers] to face the debts and the banking system alone.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.