Serving in the Israel Defense Forces are 5700 chayalim bodedim, or Lone Soldiers who have committed themselves to the protection of the State of Israel. Far from home, family and friends, these brave young men and women represent more than forty countries around the world with the largest numbers coming from the Former Soviet Union, the United States,, Europe, Ethiopia, and South America.
Also, included in this group are 1500 Israelis who are either estranged from their families or come from disadvantaged homes.
These are Israel’s lone soldiers.
Lt. Colonel Tzvika Levy (Ret.) of the Tzanchanim (Paratroopers) unit has assumed the role of family, mentor and confidante to these young soldiers. For more than 25 years his official job has been to work with soldiers assigned to live on kibbutzim, providing them with a place to call home on their days off. In truth, Tzvika’s real job has been to counsel, assist, mentor and support lone soldiers with whom he works – treating each of them as if they were his own child.
In addition, Tzvika helps these young men and women with a variety of needs – from hot plates to small TVs, from warm fleece jackets for the winter months to airline tickets home to visit loved ones abroad.
“Tzvika Levy, who is known as the ‘father of the lone soldiers,’ has dedicated two decades of his life to youth whose hearts have led them from distant lands to the ranks of the IDF – even though they arrive without the support of family or friends in Israel…Tzvika embodies the face of ‘beautiful Israel,’ as well as of the kibbutz movement in all its glory and splendor….That is Zionism in the true sense of the word.”
Defense Minister and former Prime Minister in the foreword to Lone Soldiers: Israel’s Defenders from Around the World, January 2009
“On behalf of lone soldiers everywhere we wish to thank Tzvika Levy for his tremendous support of lone soldiers all over Israel. Whether its supplying us with home products or organizing enjoyable lone soldier get togethers all year long, his outstanding dedication is truly heart warming and we couldn’t be anymore grateful. Thank you Tzvika for all you do!”
Kohava (United States)
Yaakov (United States)
And the list goes on and on…
To learn more about Tzvika Levy and the lone soldiers of the IDF, click here.