Becoming a Lone Soldier
Tzav Rishon (First Draft Notice)
If you are within drafting age, you will recieve a first draft notice within the first 6-12 months after making Aliyah. You will be required to show up at the date given to the Lishkat Giyus (Receruitment Office) to begin the drafting process. You will need to bring a form of ID (Teudat Zehut, Israeli passport, Teudat Oleh, Driver’s License) in order to get into the building as well as begin the process. The Lishkat Giyus in Haifa is located in Hadar across from the Haifa Municipality at Omar el-Khayam St 12 (Map). The army will provide you with bus tickets to allow you to get to the office free of charge.
The Tzav Rishon consists of several examinations and tests. Expect to be at the office for a while (sometimes up to six or more hours!), so bring some snacks and something to do while you wait. At the beginning, you will be asked questions about basic information like your address and phone number, educational background and years of study, languages spoken, profession (if applicable), certificates and licenses, family problems, and individual needs (including learning disabilities, religious levels, etc.). You will be given a Hebrew level evaluation, where it will be determined if you will need to attend the army ulpan (Michve Alon) for three months, which would require receiving a score of 5 or below (a score of least 6 out of 9 exempts you from attending Michve Alon). You can also request to retake the Hebrew test six months after your Tzav Rishon. You will also be given a medical examination to measure your physical profile. The last part of the Tzav Rishon is the Intelligence Test, where you will be given the option to take the test in English (if you prefer), and the test consists of quantitative reasoning problems.
*When bringing official documents, only hand in photocopies! If you hand in your original copy, you will never see it again.
*Being placed in special units requires a high level of Hebrew
The length of service is dependent on your age upon arriving in Israel (not your age when you draft).
Women Drafting to the IDF
- Religious women can receive a ptor (exemption) from serving
- Married women have an automatic exemption from serving
- There is NO requirement for women to do Sherut Leumi (National Service) instead of military service
You are allowed to travel abroad before your draft and without notifying the army, but be aware that you are not allowed to be abroad for more than three months, and you must be back in Israel three days before your draft date.
Yom Giyus (Draft Day)
You will be sent a letter (Tzav Giyus) stating when and where you need to be on your draft day. If your draft office is NOT listed as Tel Hashomer (Bakum), it is very important to be on time. You will be sent by bus to Bakum, and you don’t want to be late for the bus. The drafting location can be changed at any time, so make sure that your phone number and home address are up to date!
Recruitment Center Information
If you have any questions or problems concerning your upcoming draft, you can contact the Recruitment Information Center. The office is open Sunday through Thursday, 7:30 am – 8:00 pm. English speakers are available on staff to answer questions. The center can be reached at 03-738-8888 or *3529.
What to Bring?
On your Yom Giyus, bring the following items:
- Your Tzav Giyus paper (drafting orders) document that came in the mail
- Teudat Tzehut (Israeli I.D.) or an Israeli passport
- Driver’s license (if any)
- ATM card or bank account information including bank name, branch number and account number, to ensure you receive your army salary to the correct account
- Apartment rental contract (if you are renting an apartment)
Following is the process during your first day in the army:
- Store personal Bags: You will be directed by a commander where to check in your personal items, before continuing on to the next station.
- Friends of the IDF (FIDF): You will be met by a civilian volunteer who will be happy to serve you and other draftees a snack and drink, before continuing on your way.
- Enlistment Movie: Following your snack, you will view a movie that goes over the chain of events listed below.
- Photo for Choger (Army ID):Remember that you will not have the chance to take a second photo! Make sure to take a great photo for your army ID.
- Photographing Teeth: Using Dental Digital Panoramic Photography Advanced, your teeth will be photographed. This is for the army’s identification purposes.
- Fingerprints: Fingerprints will be taken using a digital scanner.
- Peripheral X-ray Inside the Mouth: This is accomplished using a modern x-ray machine.
- Authentication of Data: The army verifies your bank account details, in order to transfer your military salary.
- Blood Sample: A blood sample will be taken from you for identification during emergencies.
- Vaccines: Flu vaccines (in the winter only), Tetanus, and Meningitis. If you are already up to date on your vaccinations, please bring the vaccination report with you. It is also possible to get vaccinated before your draft date by your family doctor, just be sure to bring the vaccination report to your draft day!
- Blood Sample for Bone Marrow Pool: This is done by an auxiliary organization, Ezer MiTzion. Joining only involves providing a blood sample and doesn’t cost anything.
- Diskiyot (Dog Tags): Everyone will receive dog tags. Those serving in combat positions will receive an additional 2 dog tags to place in their boots.
- Hairdresser (men only): If your hair is considered too long for military standards, you will be given a haircut free of charge. You can also opt to get your hair cut before your draft day.
- For Those in Non-Combat Units: Interview with the Ketzinai Miyun (the officers in charge of assigning job placements). You are assigned a job, based on your testing scores in the Tzav Rishon (first drafting call), physical profile and Hebrew level.
- For Those In Combat Units: Men and women who volunteer for Kravi (combat) see a doctor, on behalf of the unit. A doctor checks your physical suitability for service in combat units, before you are drafted. If there is a change in your health since your Tzav Rishon that requires further investigation, you are directed (on the spot) to specialists.
- Women in Combat Units: If you volunteered to be in Kravi (combat), you sign a declaration that you will serve 36 months of compulsory service instead of 24. This is signed before you leave Bakum and go to your base.
- Receive Military Equipment: This is usually done before you meet with the Katzin Miyun, but it can sometimes be done afterwards. You will receive your equipment according to your tafkid (position).
Olim soldiers who score 5 or below on the Hebrew level exam during their Tzav Rishon will be required to attend Michve Alon, an education military base in northern Israel, for three months, which includes one month of basic training. During your time at Michve Alon you will learn the necessary Hebrew skills to succeed during your army service.
Lone Soldier Benefits
Being a lone soldier does come with its benefits.
Currently the monthly salary for combat lone soldiers is 2,578 shekels, combat support lone soldiers – 1,927 shekels, and non-combat lone soldiers – 1,350 shekels. If you draft after the first eigth months after making Aliyah, you will also receive a monthly grant from Misrad Halita of 540 shekels, and 402 shekels from Misrad Habinui. If you rent an apartment during your service, you are also eligible to receive rental assistance from the army up to 1,300 shekels per month.
In addition to the monetary benefits, lone soldiers receive a stipend of 150 shekels per month to buy food at participating supermarkets and base canteens. Please note that the money does not transfer from month to month, so if you don’t use it – you lose it!
A lone soldier has several options for living situations: apartment, kibbutz, shared lone soldier apartments, and the Beit Hachayal (Soldier House).
- As stated previously, lone soldiers receive assistance to pay for rent if they choose to live in an apartment. If a lone soldier does not have basic furnishing for the apartment, they can request to receive furniture from the army or the Lone Soldier Center.
- Lone soldiers also have the option to live on a kibbutz fully paid for, and includes laundry service, furnished rooms, a kitchenette, a shower and bathrooms, all free of charge. Take note that kibbutzes are designed for combat soldiers or soldiers serving in positions that they are less frequently at home (serve on a closed base). Lone soldiers who live on kibbutzes will receive a monthly grant of 150 shekels.
- Across the country there are apartments available for Lone Soldiers funded by the Soldier’s Welfare Association. The apartments are available to soldiers free of charge. Soldiers living in these apartments will receive 400 NIS per month directly to their bank account. Once a soldier has been released from the army, they must move out of the apartments.
- The Beit Hachayal is available to any lone soldier free of charge for a permanent living situation. The soldier will receive laundry and food services at these facilities. A recognized Lone Soldier can stay here up to 3 months before his or her draft and 30 days upon completion of army service. Each Beit Hachayal serves breakfast and dinner throughout the week, with more extensive meals provided on the weekends. Meals are free of charge for any soldier who is eligible for accommodations at the Beit Hachayal. The Beit Hachayal in Haifa is located at Ben Gurion 15, in the German Colony.
Other benefits for lone soldiers include: holiday gift cards (amount dependent on position), one paid flight abroad to visit parents, international phone card (60 minutes per month), and reduced electricity bills (50% discount).
Be aware that some Aliyah benefits may freeze during your army service, click here to see the timetable of benefits
Here are some websites that can be useful to lone soldiers: