Soldiers can now withdraw NIS 4,000 from release grant amid pandemic

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In the past, rules for withdrawing an amount from the grant ensured that the money is only used for personal betterment after a soldier finishes their military service.

By CELIA JEAN
 

JUNE 11, 2020 01:55

In the wake of the coronavirus, COGAT officers and soldiers deliver essentials to the needy and disabled in Jerusalem for Passover (photo credit: COGAT SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

In the wake of the coronavirus, COGAT officers and soldiers deliver essentials to the needy and disabled in Jerusalem for Passover

(photo credit: COGAT SPOKESPERSON’S OFFICE)

An addendum to the law regarding the grant IDF soldiers receive upon their release was announced on Wednesday, allowing for released soldiers to withdraw up to NIS 4,000 for any use during the coronavirus crisis.

While in the past rules for withdrawing an amount from the grant ensured that the money is only used for personal betterment after a soldier finishes their military service, the government is allowing up to NIS 4,000 to be withdrawn  as the coronavirus crisis brings with it financial hardships across the nation, making it harder to get established and find a job after finishing one’s service.

Upon their release soldiers receive a grant from the government that can only be used for reasons such as education, starting a business, buying a house, or getting married. The grant generally differ’s in amount depending on where the soldier served and the length of their service, and ranges anywhere from NIS 3,300 to about NIS 25,000 according to the Defense Ministry website for released soldiers. 

Generally, the release grant can be withdrawn up to five years after a soldier gets discharged, however, it remains unclear how long a soldier can be after their release in order to withdraw the NIS 4,000 for personal use during the coronavirus crisis. 

The new policy is expected to be promoted as a two-month directive and is in line with the expansion of the government-approved economic plan. 

The decision was made in coordination with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Alternate  Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Israel Katz and Social and Civil Affairs Minister Michael Biton. 

In mid-May the IDF announced that recently released lone soldiers, soldiers who either do not have families or lack financial support, would receive a housing grant of NIS 4,000, to help them get economically established during the coronavirus crisis, so long as they were within a year of their release. 

In the beginning of June, however, a South African former lone soldier Shiron Eisenberg slammed the IDF after he lost his job due to the coronavirus crisis and didn’t receive the financial grant from the IDF. 

“I finished my army service four months ago,” he explained, “and it has been two weeks since I presented the IDF with all the papers needed to get the coronavirus grant to help with the rent.”

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the IDF distributed “rapid grants” of NIS 600 (around $170) to the 6,000 lone soldiers in the military, and another 3,000 troops who required financial assistance. One time grants of between NIS 500 to NIS 1,200 ($140-$330) were also distributed to soldiers who are married with children.

Anna Ahronheim and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report. 


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