Housing Options for Lone Soldiers
There are many different options for housing after joining the IDF as a lone soldier. No one can decide which situation is best for you better than you. There are perfect fits for all different types of people. These are the options you have to choose from – click on each tab to read more about each one.
It can be hard to figure out a place to stay when you first arrive in Israel. The best solution is to stay with family or friends, but if you can’t, contact The Lone Soldier Center (02-5022211) to get set up with a temporary housing solution, such as the Heritage House in the Old City of Jerusalem and more.
Some people prefer to live on their own or with friends in an apartment they rent in a city. The army gives you ₪1,300 a month of rent money in addition to your regular salary if you have lone soldier status. You will have to bring your contract into your mashakit tash (the base’s social worker) to get permission to start receiving the money and you will need to put down the rent for the first month of your army service. The IDF will give you the money starting with your next month’s salary.
The following are the most important things to keep in mind when looking to rent an apartment:
- NEVER PAY IN CASH!!! (ONLY CHECKS) That way there is a paper trail as proof you’ve paid each month and you can always go to your bank and cancel them if you get cheated.
- Bring your contract to someone who understands Hebrew! The Lone Soldier Center in Jerusalem has lawyers that will volunteer to look it over for free.
- Make sure to get all of your lone soldier discounts sorted with your landlord (water, arnona, gas and electricity).
To help in your apartment search, we recommend the links below. We also suggest that you search Facebook for other groups in the city that you are interested in living in. (Group names and posts are usually in Hebrew or English, but sometimes there are other languages depending on the city.)
Try posting or scrolling through others’ posts from the lone soldier housing Facebook group to find a place and/or roommates. Also, Yad2 is a great website to find an apartment, just pay attention that some are using a realtor and that will cost you more.
Living on a kibbutz is an experience that is unique to Israel and there are many soldiers who prefer this. You can be adopted by a kibbutz, meaning that you will have a small apartment in the youth living area of the kibbutz and a host family where you eat meals and can hang out when you want. Your relationship with them and the kibbutz will be what you make of it, and each kibbutz has different facilities that they offer. Some are religious and some secular. It is important only to look at kibbutzim that have other lone soldiers staying there, that way you know already that they are treated well and are familiar with the procedures. There are kibbutzim all over the country.
If this is the type of living condition you would be interested in please get in contact with one of these people:
For a non-religious kibbutz, speak with Mike Meyerheim- 0549842298
For a religious kibbutz, speak with Fred Eden- 0544301153
Within the past few years, The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin started offering a few different types of housing solutions for lone soldiers wanting to live in Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv/Merkaz areas. Each location is unique in its own way. All apartments come furnished including a washer, dryer and a fridge. There is also a main lounge and kitchen area available for use in each building to those living there. Some houses are fit for either secular or religious soldiers, while others are mixed. Placement depends on what atmosphere you prefer to live in. Click here to fill out the application form to move into one of the LSC homes. Keep in mind that the spaces fill up quickly, so timing is everything. Get in contact with them soon!
Bayit Shel Benji was established in memory of Major Benji Hillman z”l, killed in action in the Lebanese village of Moran a-Ras at the beginning of the Second Lebanon War on July 20, 2006. The home is located in Ra’anana and can house 75 lone soldiers. There is usually a long waiting list to get in. More info can be found on their website here
Another option is to live with a host family during, and some times even leading up to, your army service. This entails moving into a room in a house with a family that will take care of you and help out with any situations that may come up over the course of your service. In these houses, you will have meals provided by the family when you get home from base and a place to do laundry.
If you have family or friends in Israel that would like to host/adopt you, that is always the best because you already know them and you can easily connect with them. Keep in mind that having a host family isn’t necessarily the best choice for many people; if you like to go out a lot, and spend your weekends off base traveling and not staying at home, it would be better if you rented an apartment instead of moving in with a host family where they will be expecting you to be around.
Beit Hachayal is a government hostel that can be found in major cities throughout Israel and lone soldiers can stay there TEMPORARILY.
*** Note: you are not offered more than a bunk bed in a shared room without a closet or private bathroom, so you will be living out of your backpack. Click Here for more information about locations around Israel.