MembersFarewell to the ‘Father of Lone Soldiers’

There are at any given time around 6,000 so-called “lone soldiers” in the Israel Defense Forces.

By Dov Eilon |
Tzvika Levy
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90

For the most part, these are new immigrants who came home to the Jewish state without their immediate family. But there are also other, native-born Israelis in the army who for different reasons do not live with or have any family around.

Tzvika Levy made it his life’s mission to care for these soldiers. His voluntary work started in 1983, when Levy began taking the cases of young people whom the army declined to recruit. He helped them find a way to serve. Levy soon found a supporter in then-IDF Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan. In 1994, the IDF officially put Levy in charge of caring for lone soldiers, and in 1997 he established the Lone Soldier organization, which has since supported thousands of young people in the Israeli army. For more than 30 years, Levy was known as the “father of lone soldiers,” a role that he relished. Even after their military service, many of these soldiers kept in touch with Levy.

In 2016, Levy was diagnosed...

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