What is a Lone Soldier?

Posted on June 29 2016

A ‘Lone Soldier’ is a soldier, male or female, serving in the Israeli Defense Forces without immediate family members living in Israel. The Hebrew term is ‘Chayal Boded’.

Lone Soldiers are members of the IDF who serve in regular military units and receive support from the IDF, government ministries and various other non-profit organizations.

The exact number of Lone Soldiers is consistently around 5,000 at any given time. Lone Soldiers are mainly volunteers who are not technically Israelis but join the IDF through programs such as Garin Zabar or Machal. There are also many Lone Soldiers who have family that live in Israel but are not financially supported by them. The vast majority of Lone Soldiers are from the United States and Russia.  

Around 40% of Lone Soldiers serve in front-line combat units, higher than the average of normal IDF soldiers. Over 30% of Garin Zabar members go on to become commanders and officers. There are over 2500 Garin Zabar alumni currently. Lone Soldiers are entitled to a slightly higher basic salary from the IDF, as well as 30 days a year to visit family overseas.

Pic-A-Kippa is proud to help Lone Soldiers in the IDF by donating 10% of each kippa to The Lone Soldier Center, an incredible organization supporting Lone Soldiers through extremely tough times. Their offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are dedicated to assisting Lone Soldiers throughout the IDF, who put their lives on the line for Jews across the globe.  

Pic-A-Kippa’s founders, Uri Turk and Yehuda Moskowitz, were Lone Soldiers and  members of the Garin Zabar class of 2007. They are dedicated to helping future Lone Soldiers through the sale of their unique picture kippas. 

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