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The Transition from Soldier to Proud Israeli Citizen

More than 1,000 new immigrants from around the world are honorably discharged from the IDF each year. Without their family in Israel to go home to or show them the way forward, resettlement in Israeli society for these young people poses many challenges. They must deal with the foreign, new, and complicated reality that is Israel.

The Wings Program facilitates a supportive, safe beginning for lone soldiers being discharged. Wings provides an all-inclusive educational, career, financial and life-skills program. Young immigrants are empowered to embrace Israeli society as independent and contributing members, while affirming their decision to remain in Israel for the long-term.

Wings is based on a systematic mentoring program that begins three months prior to the lone soldiers’ discharge from the IDF and continues for approximately two years after. 

The program is comprised of six major parts:

5 Day Workshop: Three months before release from the IDF, participants benefit from a five-day course including lectures and open conversations on important issues essential to the lone soldier’s transition to civilian Israeli life. Lone soldiers learn about their legal rights as citizens, financial information, rights and benefits for new immigrants, social security and taxes. Soldiers also have an initial one-on-one consultation regarding career at this time.

Professional Guidance: Each participant receives professional, individualized guidance through meetings with a personal advisor. All lone soldiers can meet with their personal advisor as often as they like for up to two years following their discharge. This crucial guidance provides participants with the opportunity to identify the skills and abilities that will help them advance as Israeli citizens. These services are provided by professional occupational psychologists. 

Diagnostic Testing: Lone soldiers are provided with diagnostic testing aimed at helping them decide what academic studies or career to pursue in Israel. 

Resume Building: With the help of their personal advisors, each participant creates a Hebrew resume, fit for the Israeli workforce.  

Financial Coaching: Each lone soldier receives individualized financial evaluation and consultation with a professional financial advisor. The coaching takes place regularly or as needed over two years to help ensure successful financial entry into civilian life. In addition, some program participants receive grants designed to assist with rent, academic tuition fees, purchasing furniture and equipment for the home. 

Support from Volunteers: Following discharge from the IDF, lone soldiers can turn to volunteers from the Israel Rotary Club and the Big Brother/Big Sister organization for mentoring. Through these partnerships, Wings provides an informal safety net for lone soldiers as they transition into civilian Israeli life.