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, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, Uruguay, USA, and Uzbekistan.
"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 of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver.
"These young men and women help guarantee the continued existence of the State of Israel, and so we must guarantee to 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."
Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, founder and CEO of Nefesh B’Nefesh, new immigrant, Eziz Halykov, Minister Sofa Landver and other olim (Photo: Sasson Tiram, courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh)
At the event, soldiers were awarded grants to help with their transition and enjoyed a barbecue. Vice Chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh Erez Halfon also addressed the future soldiers.
"While the country is preparing for Memorial Day and Independence Day, 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 Halfon.
"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."
Fulfilling dream of serving in IDF
"The FIDF/Nefesh B’Nefesh program has assisted me in every step of the way towards fulfilling my dream of serving in the IDF and serving and protecting my country”, said Eziz Halykov, 21, 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 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.