Israeli Army Report: Haredi Soldiers More Likely to Lose Touch With Families

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Every seventh Haredi soldier is not in touch with his family, according to an internal Israel Defense Forces report.

The data, released in the latest issue of the IDF magazine Bemahaneh, indicate that 15 percent of the Haredi Nahal battalion, nicknamed Netzah Yehuda, are considered lone soldiers (a term referring to soldiers without parents in the country). The army refers to them as lacking family home front – in order words they do not have any contact with their families, even though they live in Israel.

According to internal data from the Kfir brigade, this rate is five times as high as in other combat battalions in the brigade. The Netzah Yehuda commander, Col. Telem Hazan, explained that the amount of social work assistance in his battalion is tremendous and is equivalent to what would go on in an entire brigade. Besides those soldiers who are not in touch with their families, the officer remarked that there is a handful of ultra-Orthodox immigrant soldiers in the battalion who moved to Israel to join the army, including from Chicago and France.

These statistics could shed light on the future of integration of Haredi draftees into the military ranks in light of recent reform. Three out of every four soldiers in the battalion need assistance and easing of their service conditions – be it for financial reasons or because of estrangement from their families This rate is much higher than the army norm of 25 percent, the data reveal.

IDF officials confirmed that in recent years they have had to support a growing number of soldiers financially, whether they be officially registered as in need of financial assistance or through shopping vouchers, which are given out to soldiers who encounter financial problems.

An armed Israeli soldier waering a prayer shawl and tefillin.Credit: Alex Levac

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