Life After the Army

Congratulations! You finished your army service. What’s next?

The Challenge of Starting Again
After being in the army’s highly structured environment, being on your own can be overwhelming, and many people feel like they are making Aliyah all over again. You’ll find that many Israelis deal with the post-army transition by traveling overseas, frequently to South America or the Far East. As Olim, you may find that it’s not appropriate to take the same route; if you’re on your own in Israel, you may have a different set of financial responsibilities than your Israeli peers.

Aliyah Benefits
Many Aliyah benefits are frozen as long as you’re in the army, but once you leave the army, the clock starts ticking.

Frozen

Not frozen

  • Higher education
  • Tax Benefits (Customs & Income Tax)
  • Mortgage assistance
  • Ulpan
  • Sal Klita
  • Drivers License
  • Arnona
  • Rent Subsidy

For comprehensive information about your benefits, see Aliyah Benefits. To learn more about which benefits are frozen during army service, please see: Extension of Rights for Olim.

Be aware of the following limitations on what you will receive:

  • Sal Klita: After you leave the army, you do not receive Sal Klita (Absorption Basket) payments.
  • Higher Education: Although higher education benefits are frozen while you are in the army, you need to be younger than the upper age limit in order to receive the subsidy (up to age 23 for Mechina and up to age 27 for a BA).
  • Driver’s License: If you served in the army during the three years you have to convert your license, you will get an extension of one year.  This is not automatic – you need to apply for the extension at your local Misrad Harishui branch.
  • Keva: If you signed up for Keva (career soldier), you lose the status of Chayal Boded (lone soldier) and your benefits start running.

Finances
Every soldier receives from the army:

  • Maanak Shichrur: This is a monetary gift the army gives to every soldier who finishes service. The amount you receive depends on where you served and for how long. The money is automatically deposited into your account the month after you are released. For details, click here.
  • Pikadon: This is a savings deposit from the army, money that the army puts away for each soldier to use for school, buying an apartment or starting a business.  If you don’t use the money, after seven years you lose this benefit. The amount of money is based on where you served and your length of service. For details, click here.
  • Calculator: Use the calculator found here to find out how much money you may be eligible to receive based on your service.

Setting Up a Home
When you leave Kibbutz, you’ll need to find a place to live. There are free websites that can help you with your apartment hunt including www.homeless.co.ilwww.yad2.co.il, and Yahoo groups likeNefesh B’NefeshJanglo and Taanglo. For a complete listing, see Housing Resources.

Once you move into your new home, you are eligible for discounts on Arnona (municipal tax) for the first four months. Bring your Teudat Shichrur (ID card proving your release from the army) to the local municipality.

Setting up your home is a process that takes time and patience. For guidance, see Tips for Setting Up Your Home.

Lodgings at a Beit Hachayal During Acclimatization
A Chayal Boded may continue to lodge free of charge at a Beit Hachayal for a period of three months following his or her discharge from regular service. To receive a reference to the Beit Hachayal, confirming your status and eligibility, contact the Discharged Soldiers Advisory Office (Appendix E) with your Chayal Boded certification from the Ketzin Ha’ir.

Health Insurance
When you leave Kibbutz, you must re-activate your health insurance. Please send a copy of your Teudat Shichrur to Bituach Leumi at 02-646-2029. You will be re-assigned to the Kuppa that you used, before you started your army service. If you wish to switch Kuppot, please go to the post office and fill out a request to switch Kuppot. Most Kuppot offer released soldiers free coverage (on the basic plan) for one year.

Higher Education
Your university tuition may be subsidized if you begin your studies before age 27 for a BA and age 30 for an MA, AND if you start your studies within three years of Aliyah. Students who are under 23 also receive assistance for Mechina, a year preparatory course. Please be in touch withnbnstudents@nbn.org.il to find out if you are eligible for the subsidy.

IMPACT! Scholarships for Discharged Soldiers
The Friends of the IDF (FIDF) organization, together with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS) offers scholarships to discharged IDF combat soldiers whose economic circumstances do not allow them the opportunity of pursuing higher education and who meet the criteria set by the FIDF directorate.

The scholarship is set at $4,000 per year of study.
In return, the recipient commits himself to carrying out 130 hours per year of community work throughout the period of his studies, and maintaining contact with the donor who is funding his scholarship with two letters each year.

Note: The scholarship is not available for Mechina (preparatory program)/completion of Bagrut (matriculation) examinations/studies via the Open University/part-time studies, nor is it offered to released soldiers who already hold an academic degree.

The criteria for application for a scholarship, the request form, and instructions for submission may be found on the AWIS website: www.awis.org.il/impact

The AWIS scholarship department can be reached at 072-270-2270.

The Heseg Foundation
The Heseg Foundation offers aid to discharged soldiers (combat and non-combat) who are recognized by the IDF as Chayalim Bodedim and who completed a full and satisfactory service. The grant includes tuition fees for an undergraduate degree as well as a monthly subsistence stipend. In return, the recipient undertakes to perform 130 hours of community service per year.

The scholarship does not cover Mechina studies, studies towards completion of a Bagrut certificate, or further study for a released soldier who already holds a degree or diploma.

The request form and instructions for its submission may be found on the Heseg Foundation website:www.heseg.com; or by contacting the Foundation’s offices at: 03-771-3100.

TAKEOFF
Atidim’s TAKEOFF program provides Lone Soldier Olim with support after their release from the IDF. TAKEOFF assists from the end of your army service to college education until finding a satisfying career paths and permanent job placement. Take a look at the TAKEOFF brochure

for more information.

Job Hunting
Finding a job can be a challenging process. See the following articles for guidance:

There are jobs that are reserved for newly discharged soldiers, which are usually for a specified period fo time. They are advertised online. While the actual salary for these positions is usually close to minimum wage, Bituach Leumi pays an additional stipend when the job ends. For more information about these types of positions, please see:

  1. www.afterarmy.co.il
  2. www.muadefet.co.il