The Lone Soldier
During 2014 about 6,000 soldiers served in the IDF as Lone Soldiers. Some of them made “Aliya” (immigrated to Israel) on their own in order to serve in the IDF, and some have tough social-economic backgrounds, that cannot provide economic and emotional family support. The significant difference between the two population groups is that those who came from abroad have supportive parents and families that are not in physical proximity, while the local lone soldier does not have a family at all or is not in touch (communicating) with his/her family.
Coping with the Service
Any lone soldiers, serving in the IDF in particularly those serving as combat soldiers, face unique difficulties and challenges. In addition to the natural difficulty of the combat service, he/she has to cope with being a lone soldier, alone in the “battle”. This is especially evident on weekends, or various army events – like induction, beret march ceremonies, or parent’s days – when the families come to visit their loved ones, and the lone soldier, in a way, cannot really feel part and parcel of the event.
For this population group, the service in the IDF is a real opportunity for integrating in the Israel society after the army service, and therefore it is most important that they should have a positive and significant experience during their service. The army offers the lone soldier various supportive channels (finance assistance and special accommodation); nevertheless, there are still quite a few lone soldiers who do not receive an appropriate response to their needs, or support, mainly during weekends.
Almog Shilony’s Home for Lone Soldiers
Almog Shilony’s Home is based on the values and heritage of Almog z”l. Its intent is to provide a response to the needs of lone soldiers – a physical home, which also responds to emotional needs, almost in the way a “real home” would do so. The various goals of the home include community activities and assistance for the lone soldier towards the end of his/her service and afterwards.
In addition to the home, a values’ center has been founded which, in various ways, reflects Almog’s values: The value of heroism, amicability, giving, mutual caring and responsibility. During his short existence, Almog Asael dealt with giving, mainly to his soldiers, some of them lone soldiers.