What is a Chayal Boded (Lone Soldier)? and Can he go to a kibbutz? are among the questions you'll find answers to in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Note ! This should be used only as a general guide. Regulations change from time to time. For definitive answers you should contact your local consulate or the Lishkat HaGiyus.
Also, the gender in this article will consistently be male, though these rules also apply to a female lone soldier.
Q: What is a Chayal Boded (Lone Soldier)?
The IDF defines a lone soldier as one who has no immediate family in Israel.
Q: What if he has a sibling living in Israel?
If the sibling is single than there should be little problem. If they are married they will have to provide a letter stating that they have no means of supporting you or placing you. The final decision will be made by the army.
Q: What are the privileges accorded to a Chayal Boded by the army?
- A double salary.
- Rental assistance up to 779 NIS/month. When the rental contract stipulates payment in advance, the IDF will pay up to six months of the rent in advance. If a lone soldier has to draw up a rental contract, the IDF will pay for notarization expenses each time the contract is drawn up (often once per year) in the form of a grant.
- Assistance in payment of utilities for an apartment: Water, gas, electricity up to 236 NIS/month. Plus, a chayal Boded can receive a significant reduction in paying local city taxes ("arnona"). In Jerusalem, the city taxes are waived.
- Special days off (once every two months) to arrange the various affairs which your parents might have otherwise been able to do for you. (Just think of this as an extra day to do laundry or take care of any administrative matters which come up, like banking etc.)
- One phone call every month to any international number courtesy of Bezeq International. Ten minutes to touch base is nice, but not long enough to let you "reach out and touch someone," but then again, this isn't AT&T.
- Free room and board at 'Beit Hachayal' during your free weekends. Beit Hachayal is a soldiers' hostel which is used for various purposes. This is a very useful privilege for soldiers serving far from home who cannot return in time.
- An extra month's vacation time to visit family outside of Israel.
- The opportunity to receive an "ishur avoda," or permission to work outside of the army. This is given on an individual basis according to eligibility.
- If in dire financial straits, the chayal boded can apply for financial assistance from one of four special funds of the IDF.
- The chayal boded is entitled to leave his unit early on Fridays (if serving in a closed unit or serving far away) in order to make arrangements for Shabbat and Festivals. Often the officers are not aware of this -he should educate them.
Q: What financial assistance can a Chayal Boded recieve outside of the army?
Apart from the financial benefits given by the army, there are two further places to get help: The Misrad Haklita and the Mortgage banks.
The Chayal Boded can get a sum roughly equivalent to an additional month's salary from the Misrad Haklita by presenting them with his Teudat Chayal Boded.
An oleh receives rental assistance from the Misrad Hashikun and the mortgage banks for 5 years at the rate of NIS 250pm. Whilst in the army he gets NIS 450pm and will get additional time added on to the five years
Q: How does the Chayal Boded make sure that he receives all his privileges?
As a general rule, let everybody who you come into contact with in the army know that you are a "Chayal Boded." Attached to your base there is somebody known as a "Mashaket Tna-ei Sherut." Special circumstances or problems with the conditions of your service are dealt with by this office.
Upon arriving at your base for the first time, make an appointment to meet with somebody from "Mador Tash" (short for Tna-ei Sherut) and let them know about your status as a "Chayal Boded." It is their job to ensure that all the privileges you are entitled to are given to you. However, they may not be aware of all the privileges that you are entitled to. Be sure to pick up a guide explaining your privileges at Lishkat Hagius, "Mador Prat" - as described below. The guide is available in English, Russian, Hebrew and may be available in other languages as well.
Q: What if the Chayal Boded has trouble finding a place to live?
Lone soldiers having difficulty finding an apartment to rent are entitled to place an ad for free in the army newspaper "BeMachane," in order to advertise their search. He may also be able to rent an apartment from the "Amigur" public housing company, provided that there are apartments available (which is rare).
Q: What should the chayal boded know about going abroad on leave?
A lone soldier whose parents live abroad is entitled to a special leave of 21 days once a year, and no more than twice during the entire service, for the purpose of going abroad. An additional 9 days of leave may be requested, but will be added to the total length of service, or the soldier can convert regular leave that is owed to him. If the soldier requests the additional leave days, it is unpaid.
In addition to the above, a soldier may go abroad during any other leave to which he is entitled upon the recommendation of his commanding officer and with the consent of the IDF.
In the event of a death in a lone soldier's immediate family abroad, the IDF will grant a 30 day leave and will pay flight expenses.
Note: When an IDF soldier goes abroad on leave, he is not insured medically through the IDF and is advised to make private arrangements.
Soldiers should maintain an up-to-date passport in the event of an emergency abroad. An Israeli soldier will not be able to leave the country without a valid Israeli passport.
Q: How does the Chayal Boded go about getting free room and board at Beit Hachayal (Soldier's Hostel)?
The soldier should call the hostel ahead of time to make sure there is a vacancy. It is necessary to present his lone soldier certificate (teudat chayal boded) and soldier's identity card (teudat hoger) at the hostel. Hostels are open 24 hours a day.
On Shabbat and holidays, a lone soldier who is staying at a hostel which does not serve meals may receive a special grant from the Soldier's Welfare Association.
Q: Is the Chayal Boded entitled to any accommodation after his discharge?
He is entitled to free accommodation at a Beit HaHayal for up to 30 days following discharge.
Q: Doesn't anyone bring gifts to the Chayal Boded?
Of course, the Soldiers' Welfare Association distributes a gift (shai) to lone immigrant soldiers at Independence Day. The Shekem society distributes gifts at Rosh HaShana.
Q: What if he wants to be "adopted" by a family while serving?
The IDF is in contact with families interested in assisting lone soldiers and willing to provide them with a home on weekend leaves and furloughs during their period of service.
Q: Can he go to a kibbutz?
The IDF is also in contact with kibbutzim that are interested in absorbing lone soldiers and serving as their home during leave (in return for a symbolic rent paid by the IDF directly to the kibbutz). Only limited placement on such kibbutzim is available, primarily in the northern and southern regions of the country.
Such arrangements are made following a personal interview arranged by the soldier's welfare officer, either with the kibbutz movement secretaries, or the kibbutz itself. A lone soldier interested in such an arrangement with either a family or a kibbutz should contact the masahkit tash (welfare officer) at his base, or a kibbutz movement prior to conscription.
Be aware that if he chooses this option, part of the financial benefits go to the kibbutz.
Q: What happens if he gets married while a chayal boded?
If a lone soldier marries during compulsory service, he may receive an extra stipend in addition to the private's full salary which every married soldier receives. This is to compensate him for losing the rest of his chayal boded rights. Because from that point on, he is no longer considered a chayal boded.
The actual amount of money he gets depends on what his wife is doing. If his wife is studying, it depends on what year she is in the university. If his wife is working, the army will subsidize the family with an additional monthly stipend.
Note, from the point at which the soldier gets married, he is not considered a chayal boded. The regulations concerning a married chayal boded are very complicated and only definitive answers can be gotten from lishgat hagiyus.
Q: Is the Chayal Boded entitled to any rights after leaving the army?
Yes and he can contact the ex-servicemens unit from 6 months before discharge to three years after. For more information on this contact: 17 Ha'aluf Mendler Street, Ha'Kiriah, Tel Aviv. Tel.: 03-6975988.
Q: What are the addresses of K'itzinei Ha'ir (town officers) who can assist the Chayal Boded while on leave?
100 Hahistadrut St.
6 Peretz Street.
27 Hillel Street
14 Schneor Street
Q: What are the addresses of the Soldier's Hostels (Beti Hechayal)?
(Keep in mind that telephone numbers may change frequently in Israel).
Chativat Hanegev St
2 Bethelem St
13/15 Sderot Ben Gurion
12 Golani St
Sderot Ben Tsvi
60 Weitzman St