The Knesset has authorized on its second and third reading a series of laws that will provide more benefits for demobilized IDF soldiers. The laws, under a single piece of legislation known as the Law for Absorbing Demobilized Soldiers, includes eight different laws proposed by a variety of MKs, including Shuli Mua’llem and Moti Yogev (Jewish Home), Robert Elituv and Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu), Anat Berko (Likud), Stav Shafr (Labor/Zionist Camp) and others.
Among the benefits for soldiers is an extension of the time in which they are allowed to draw out their demobilization payment – with soldiers having ten years in order to withdraw or otherwise use that money. Previously, the length of time available to use the money was seven years. At the end of the period, soldiers will automatically get their demobilization bonuses paid into their bank accounts, if they have not withdrawn the money by the end of the ten year period.
In addition, soldiers can now use the bonus money for a wider variety of needs; previously, they could spend it on themselves or on an education, but the new law will allow them to use the money for buying homes and property, or building a home.
In addition, lone soldiers – soldiers generally from abroad who have no immediate relatives in Israel – will be able to get an apartment anywhere in the country and pay NIS 1,000 for the first year of their demobilization. The rest of the rent will be subsidized by the IDF. They will also be able to take out half of the bonus due them even before they leave the army, for any purpose required. And, additional assistance will be available for lone soldiers as well as for reserve soldiers, to receive scholarships to further their education.
Commenting on the new law, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that he was “happy to bring the good news to soldiers, who defend the country and help ensure that we can live our lives securely.