The IDF—Israel Defense Forces—is one of the most diverse armies in the world, made up of men and women not only from Israel, but across the globe.
Among their ranks are those who are known as ‘lone soldiers.’ Yet, who are these men and women, and why are they fighting an unseen war?
Join us as we discover the importance of the IDF and those who make up the lone soldiers in their ranks!
Who are ‘Lone Soldiers?’
In Israel, ‘lone soldiers’ are typically classified as those who join the Israel Defense Forces, but have no family in Israel. More specifically, these soldiers often include foreigners to Israel, newly arrived immigrants, orphans, and even those who were disowned by their families when they chose to enter the IDF.
Because most of these soldiers have no family unit, these men and women frequently face lack, both monetarily and emotionally, with no financial support beyond the small salary their work provides and often, no one to come home to when on leave—if they even have a home at all.
Sadly, because of these factors, being a lone soldier often leads to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and a general lack of belonging. Couple this with the financial pressures of a relatively low paying, high stress occupation, and many lone soldiers find it difficult to cope… a sad state considering that, so often, these soldiers have left everything and everyone they know to fight for the land promised by God.
“…the land… He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey…
“…bring them in and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.”—Exodus 13:5; 15:17
Thus, when a soldier, having surpassed such obstacles as lack, aloneness, and possibly traveling a great distance to join, comes to find that they still require greater mental and financial support than is provided, depression can sink in. Unfortunately, these feelings not only affect their mental and physical health in the short term—potentially even lowering work performance in an already dangerous vocation—but it can affect their lives forever…
The heartbreaking, unthinkable reality is that suicide is often the end result. Yes, the number of suicides has lessened significantly over the past decade, but they are far from vanquished. Half a dozen to over a dozen a year is not uncommon, leaving those around them—fellow soldiers, friends, and family—to grieve and question everything they thought they knew. Yet, even if the number of suicides were reduced to as low as one a year, that one would be far too great… for every life is too precious to waste.
“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?”—Luke 12:24
Even with all of the ways the IDF and Israeli government are working to combat the burdens placed upon these soldiers and their feelings of isolation, they can only do so much. This is amplified when soldiers are on leave as, aside from moderate financial aid, the number of ways the IDF and Israeli government can help their lone soldiers lessen.
This is why it is important for others to step in, to show them they are treasured and loved in ways the IDF and government cannot; perhaps even should not.
We know that every life is valuable, and many times, a simple act of caring can mean the world to someone who is considering the unthinkable—restoring meaning to their lives as they see God working through each of us.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”—John 13:34-35
What Can You Do to Help Lone Soldiers?
At Curt Landry Ministries we are striving to combat many of the issues faced by IDF soldiers in Israel. Currently, through the support of people like you, we are providing lone soldiers a community base where they can join together and have Shabbat meals. This, in a very small way, removes a little of the financial pressure, but more than that, it gives them hope. It allows them to join in fellowship with other soldiers who are struggling with the same issues… to find joy in a common bond with people just like themselves. It brings to light a sense of self-worth that may have been lost to emptiness and despair. Yet, we have gone further to help these soldiers and other members of the IDF…
- We give knife-proof vests to young women in the IDF patrolling Jerusalem—protecting them from a daily threat.
- We give socks, toothpaste, and other basic necessities to lone soldiers.
- We gift t-shirts or ball caps and copies of Reclaiming Our Forgotten Heritage in Hebrew to IDF soldiers.
- We provide food boxes to their families.
- We supply high-grade boots.
- We sponsor a battalion, providing financial support, holiday meals and gifts, outings, and more.
- We help wherever a need is presented that we can fill…
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”—Matthew 25:37-40
Yet, while all of this is important, it is obviously not enough when young men and women are taking their own lives. We have to be ever praying, ever seeking God to heal their hearts and show us how we can better serve them. Because, we are meant to serve. We are meant to help God’s people.
As Matthew 12:18 declares about Jesus, “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!” (emphasis added).
And as Jesus Himself said in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
If Yeshua our Messiah was willing to serve, how much more are we meant to serve?
“…whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”—Colossians 3:17, 23-24
Just knowing that there is someone out there who cares about them, is thinking about them, and is willing to help AND pray, is a blessing to so many of these young men and women. It brings a smile to faces ridden with worry and despair and gives hope to their souls. Hope that what they are doing truly matters, and that their lives hold value! Not only for those they are protecting, but to others who are thousands of miles away.
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”—Luke 6:38
There is always more that can be done, more that we can be doing. Yet, as we pray, ask for God’s guidance, and give out of the love God has put in our hearts… we truly make a difference.
Some make a difference by putting on a uniform—others, by providing for those who do. Each accomplishing a necessary function for the other; fulfilling God’s Word.
“Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.”—Psalm 82:3
Praying for the peace of Jerusalem is written as a decree in the Word, one we are meant to fulfill. Certainly, we could leave it at prayer, but should we be doing more?
Are we ignoring the troubles of those who act as guards for Jerusalem and Israel? Are we leaving young men and women to struggle on the frontlines without our help or prayers… expecting them to carry the burden alone?
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
prosperity within your palaces.’”—Psalm 122:6-7
Let us join together as One New Man and give hope to lone soldiers.
Let us say to those on the frontlines, “You are not forgotten. We are here for you.”
Let us help as we can, in prayer and action, for the glory of God!
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”—Matthew 7:12
Sources include Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Lone Soldier Center, i24 News, Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, and others. Some statistics used in this blog may change from year to year; sources come from articles dated as far back as 2019.