FAQ
The experience of serving in the Israeli army can be, depending on who you are, daunting, exciting, challenging, inspiring, or all of these things combined. For new Olim, serving in the army is a means of successfully integrating into Israeli society, mastering Hebrew and learning cultural norms. Every Israeli citizen is obligated to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF); service is mandatory for men age 18-25 and women age 17-20. The sections below provide answers to common questions about the draft, rights and benefits for soldiers, The Lone Soldiers Program and more.   289x188_faq
1.  What is a Lone Soldier?

A Lone Soldier is a new immigrant to Israel who is required to serve in the IDF and whose parent(s) do not live in Israel for at least nine months out of the year. Applying for Lone-Soldier status is part of the draft process and will be decided by the IDF.

2.  What is the Friends of the IDF (FIDF)?

FIDF was established in the US in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors. Its mission is to initiate and help support educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. FIDF also provides support for the families of fallen soldiers.

3.  What is Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN)?

The core mission of NBN is to revitalize Aliyah and to substantially increase the number of future Olim by removing the professional, logistical and financial obstacles that prevent many individuals from actualizing their dreams. In the process of fulfilling our mission, we aim to educate and inspire the Jews of the Diaspora as to the centrality of the Jewish State to the Jewish people and its desirability as a Jewish home.

4.  What is the Lone Soldiers Program (LSP)?

LSP was created as a joint venture between FIDF and NBN with the goal of providing assistance and support to new immigrants that are required to serve in the IDF.

5.  Who is funding this program?

The Lone Soldiers Program is supported by the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) and the Government of Israel.

6.  Is the Lone Soldiers Program (LSP) supported by the IDF?

The Lone Soldiers Program is supported by the Friends of the IDF (FIDF) and the Government of Israel.

7.  Who is eligible for the Lone Soldiers Program (LSP)?

The IDF has recognized LSP as a resource for recognized Lone Soldiers, and shares information and resources to ensure that the soldiers are supported and never feel alone.

8.  What do I need to do to apply to this program?

  • If you are an American, Canadian, or British citizen, you need to apply for Aliyah, contact NBN here.  If you are a citizen of any of these countries but residing in Israel, you can contact NBN here.

  • If you hold citizenship from any other country, in order to begin the Aliyah process contact the Jewish Agency for Israel to arrange your Aliyah from abroad.
    If you hold citizenship from any other country but currently reside in Israel, contact the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior) If you are a citizen of any other country and have made Aliyah, and are interested in serving in the IDF, please fill out this form and we will contact you with more information.

9.  How does an Oleh obtain Lone Soldier status?

Six months before enlistment the Oleh will receive a notification to meet with a Mashakit Tash (an army social worker), and through them the Oleh will obtain the Ishur as a lone soldier.

10.  After obtaining Lone Soldier status, what do I receive from the IDF?

Most lone soldiers are eligible to receive financial support, housing assistance, extra vacation, and additional small gifts.  For a detailed list of Lone Soldier benefits: click here

11.  If I apply for and am accepted, what type of assistance do I get from FIDF and NBN?

If I apply for and am accepted, what type of assistance do I get from FIDF and NBN? This program is designed to give all-encompassing support to Lone Soldiers during the drafting process, throughout their IDF service, and continuing after they complete their service.

12.  Who is eligible for financial assistance?

An Oleh who is:
• Making Aliyah 
• Planning to serve in the IDF for at least 18 months
• Recognized by the IDF as a Lone Soldier

13.  Is there additional financial assistance available for Lone Soldiers?

Yes, you can also receive assistance through various IDF programs, sponsored by FIDF. Once you have enlisted make sure to contact your unit’s Mashakit Tash (social worker).

14.  When is the FIDF & NBN assistance received?

The services and resources of FIDF & NBN are available for those who apply and are accepted by the organization. Financial assistance is conditional on your enlistment into the IDF with the status of a Lone Soldier and providing Nefesh B’Nefesh with the official documentation (including a copy of yourTeudat Oleh).   Approximately one month before your enlistment into the army you will be eligible to receive your check. Please feel free to contact us with questions you may have throughout the process at lspen@nbn.org.il

15.  If my parents live in Israel, am I disqualified from participating in this program?

LSP was created to provide a family-like support system to Olim serving in the IDF who do not have family living in Israel. Therefore the program is only available for those Olim without parents in Israel.

16.  After completing the required service, are there any additional benefits?

A release from the IDF is what we refer to as a “second Aliyah” and it is an opportune time to help olim integrate into civilian Israeli society. We offer employment consultations (including updating resumes, job placement services, carrier counseling and more), higher education resources, budgeting and housing information, and ongoing social events.

17.  Is LSP available for someone who already made Aliyah?

Yes! Please fill out the intake form and submit the necessary documents.

18.  I am in Mahal and have not made Aliyah, am I eligible for assistance?

In our efforts help all lone soldiers, we will be assisting Mahal volunteers navigate the army. Unfortunately, Mahal volunteers are not eligible for a financial grant.

19.  Who should be contacted for questions regarding IDF service (e.g., giyus)?

Our dedicated staff is here to assist during every stage of IDF service, from clarifying your status pre-giyus to being released, and everything in between.  Please call or contact lspnen@nbn.org.il

20.  How long is the required IDF service?

The army determines the length of service based on three factors: 1) Family status (single, married, etc.) 2) Physical profile, and 3) Age upon entry to the country (this can be before the official date of Aliyah).  Length of service for men and woman is different.  Consult Army service for men  or Army service for women for further details, or email lspen@nbn.org.il

21.  Is it possible to expedite the Giyus?

Although the IDF makes all final decisions regarding service, a request can be made on the Oleh’s behalf.

22.  How long does it take for an Oleh to receive the Tzav Rishon (First Draft Letter)?

The army usually waits between 6-12 months until sending you a Tzav Rishon. However, you can put in a request to the army if you would like to receive it earlier. Please contact lspen@nbn.org.il if you have further questions.

23.  Is there assistance available for finding housing?

Although LSP does not provide housing placements, we do share online resources with housing options around the country.  If you are a Lone Soldier and want to live on a Kibbutz, we can connect you with the person in charge of housing placement (this is an option only upon enlistment).  If you are interested in an adoptive family, please contact: lspen@nbn.org.il

24.  Does the army provide an Ulpan?

Most Olim are offered a free Ulpan as part of their Aliyah-benefits package. Additionally, every potential solider undergoes a Hebrew test as part of the Tzav Rishon. Based on the results of this test, the Olim may participate in a 3 week or 3 month Hebrew course at Mechva Alon, the duration of which is counted as part of the IDF service. There is also a supplemental, one-month Ulpanit that you can request once you are placed within a unit. However, Olim should not depend on these opportunities as the sole resource for learning Hebrew.

There is also a supplemental, one-month Ulpanit that you can request once you are placed within a unit. However, Olim should not depend on these opportunities as the sole resource for learning Hebrew. A low Hebrew level can limit options in the IDF. The more you can do to prepare for your integration, the better. One benefit of receiving your Tzav Rishon 9-12 months after your date of Aliyah is that it provides you additional time to improve your Hebrew.

25.  Are Garin Tzabar participants eligible for FIDF & Nefesh B’Nefesh assistance??

Yes, you can! When filling out the application, you should mark off that you are planning on participating in the Garin Tzabar program.

26.  Are Olim that are performing Sherut Leumi eligible for LSP?

Unfortunately, LSP assistance is only available to those Olim that are performing IDF service.

27.  Are Olim that are enrolled at a Hesder Yeshiva eligible for LSP?

Yes, Hesder Yeshiva students are eligible for LSP assistance.

28.  Are children of an Israeli parent(s) eligible for LSP?

Having Israeli parents does not disqualify Olim from the LSP. The two criteria for acceptance to the NBN program are: 1) active service in the IDF is a minimum of 18 months and 2) receiving the official status of Lone Soldier.. You must also be recognized by Misrad Haklita (Ministry of Immigration Absorption) as a Katin Chozer (Returning Minor) or Ezrach Oleh (Israeli Citizen Born Outside of Israel).

29.  What are the conditions for receiving the lsp grant?

Olim will need to submit the following documents before their giyus:
• Copy of the Tzav Giyus (draft notice)
• Official document from the IDF indicating recognition as a Lone Soldier 
• Copy of Teudat Oleh/Teudat Zakaut (Aliyah ID card)
• Picture
• Personal bank informatio

30.  Are Olim that made Aliyah with NBN and already received financial assistance also eligible for financial assistance through LSP?

No, unfortunately NBN financial assistance is a one-time gift.

31.  I am interested in making Aliyah. Where do I start?

  • If you are an American, Canadian, or British citizen, you need to apply for Aliyah, contact us here.  If you are a citizen of any of these countries but residing in Israel, you can contact us here.

  • If you hold citizenship from any other country, in order to begin the Aliyah process contact the Jewish Agency for Israel to arrange your Aliyah from abroad.  If you hold citizenship from any other country but currently reside in Israel, contact the Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior).
    If you are a citizen of any other country and have made Aliyah, and are interested in serving in the IDF, please fill out this form and we will contact you with more informatio

32.  Does applying to this program commit me to serving in the IDF?

No, by contacting NBN and submitting an application to this program you have made no commitment to serve. Obligatory and voluntary IDF service is determined by law and by the IDF only. However, by serving in the army for more than 18 months you are eligible to join LSP.

33.  What government benefits are available to me when I make Aliyah?

The Israeli government provides new Olim with many helpful benefits.  If you are an Oleh Chadash, these are your Aliyah benefits. If you have an Israeli parent, these are your Ailyah benefits

34.  What government benefits are available to me when I make Aliyah?

The Israeli government provides new Olim with many helpful benefits.  If you are an Oleh Chadash, these are your Aliyah benefits. If you have an Israeli parent, these are your Ailyah benefits

35.  If I am currently serving in Mahal, and I decide to make Aliyah (and this means that all together I will end up serving more than 18 months), will I be eligible for a grant (even if I am in active service)?

At this time according to the rules of the IDF we have to distribute the grant to the soldier before they enlist. We are currently working on the solution with the IDF. Please be in touch withlspen@nbn.org.il for updates.

36.  Will my information remain confidential?

Your information will not be shared with any commercial company. Please note that NBN works closely with Israeli government offices to ensure success of the Oleh absorption into Israel.

The role of FIDF and Nefesh B’Nefesh is to assist new immigrants to Israel who are drafted to the IDF. It is not the objective, or part of the scope of operational activities of either organization to help recruit soldiers for the Israel Defense Forces.