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Every year, tens of thousands of Israeli adolescents get drafted to compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces, typically for a period of 24-36 months.
Conscripted IDF soldiers are not paid a salary. They receive a small stipend (of about $200 – $400 per month) intended for bare necessities such as food, hygienic products and clothes.
Furthermore, the law forbids IDF soldiers to work during their term, unless given prior permission granted only in special circumstances.
Given the tiny geographical size of Israel and its unique security needs, most soldiers are stationed relatively near (up to a few hours away from) their homes. As such, most IDF soldiers serve in posts without army housing and are expected to return to their families for room and board when they go on leave – be it daily, weekly or bi-monthly.
NADAN aims to help every conscripted soldier in need of legal aid, regardless of financial background, and to promote the legal welfare of all conscripted soldiers.
NADAN is the only non-profit organization formed for the sole purpose of providing legal aid specifically to IDF conscripted soldiers.
Statistical information provided to NADAN by the IDF has shown that about 3,500-5000 conscripted soldiers per year are in need of legal aid in one or more matters – and in more than 10,000 cases per year.
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The IDF infrastructure is based on the nationally-accepted principle that soldiers’ parents are expected to financially sustain their adult children and provide for them throughout their military service. For this reason, for instance, child support in Israel is paid by parents until after the child is discharged from military service – past the age of 18, in contrast to the widely-accepted custom in the rest of the world.
As expected, many of these soldiers – especially new immigrants and lone soldiers (including Israeli-born lone soldiers) – come from complex socio-economic backgrounds. Consequently, they often get into various legal complications, such as consumer debt, employment and housing disputes, and many other issues related to their civilian lives.
These young men and women often need legal aid which they cannot afford. They usually don’t have the time, resources, knowledge, support or maturity required to deal with these problems. Sometimes even the presence of an adult in their life is unhelpful as these adult role models are often involved in unresolved legal or financial problems of their own.
As a result, these soldiers end up accumulating debt, procrastinating from dealing with their issues (which compound in complexity), accepting loans from questionable sources or simply not asserting their rights. Some, unfortunately, end up deserting their service to deal with the complications in their civilian lives while others resort to what can be considered as “poverty crimes” – such as theft, drug dealing, weapons trafficking, etc.
“NADAN” (NGO) is a legal aid association providing legal services to IDF conscripted soldiers.
NADAN aims to become a “one stop shop” for the common legal needs relating to the soldiers’ welfare and to provide them with a sense of security. The services are offered to every conscripted soldier in order to empower them so that they may successfully integrate into both their military and civilian lives with the least possible unresolved legal issues that could burden them during or after they’ve fulfilled their service.
 “NADAN” – the Hebrew word for “scabbard”, a device used to keep a sword safe from harm.