A new initiative by Knesset Members to adopt lone soldiers was launched last week, to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Wings Program, a joint initiative between The Jewish Agency and the Merage Foundations. The Knesset also announced the formation of the Caucus for Strengthening the Jewish People, led by MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) and MK Dr. Nachman Shai (Labor) in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel.
Last week, the Knesset announced a new initiative to adopt lone soldiers – individuals without immediate family in Israel – to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Wings Program, a joint initiative between The Jewish Agency and the Merage Foundations. The Wings Program accompanies new immigrants during their military service and helps them take their first steps as civilians following their discharge from active duty. As part of this new initiative, MKs from across the political spectrum will adopt lone soldiers who come to serve in the IDF from around the world as leaders have called on every member of Knesset to adopt a lone soldier. Both Tzachi Hanegbi, and Nachman Shai (Likud) have agreed to be among the first to embrace the program and adopt lone soldiers.
In a survey conducted among graduates of the Wings Program, it was discovered that 90% of IDF volunteers move to Israel permanently after their service. Wings was developed to help ease the soldiers’ integration into civilian life and prepare them to live independently by providing them with guidance on financial matters, employment, and academic studies.
We are extremely pleased to have been a part of the journey of the Wings Program. Not only has the growth of the program been encouraging, but the impact of the program on lone soldiers and their families has been truly inspirational. Wings was created when we identified a need to support lone immigrant soldiers and ease their transition out of military service. From workshops on higher education opportunities to lessons on navigating the systems for accessing national insurance payments to learning to read a rental contract, our goal has always been to prepare these young people for Israeli life after their service. And, today, I am so very proud of the work we have done, and am excited that the number of lone soldiers is increasing and the Wings program is growing to meet the demand.
David Merage, founder of the Merage Foundations