A record number of American teens volunteer to enlist in the IDF

Just this year, 350 teens from the U.S. elect to move to Israel for the sole purpose of enlisting to the IDF (Zahal), the majority going on to combat and elite units

Date: 23/07/2012, 2:50 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

This summer, a record 350 Jewish American teens made the brave decision to leave behind their families and homes in the Unites States, move to Israel completely on their own and volunteer to enlist to the IDF (Zahal). The majority of these highly motivated, Zionistic teens wish to draft to combat and infantry units, a select group will even join the most classified, elite commando units in the IDF (Zahal).

Between the ages of 18 and 22, 120 of these teens will fly to Israel together in a Nefesh B’Nefesh flight in the coming weeks. The Nefesh B’Nefesh organization along with the Friends of the IDF (Zahal) (FIDF (Zahal)) and the Israeli Scouts’ Garin Tzabar program accompany the volunteers throughout their integration in Israeli society and enlistment to the IDF (Zahal). Upon moving to Israel, the soon-to-be soldiers will also be supported by Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Deputy Head of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization Mr. Erez Halfon said last night that “this is the best answer to Iran’s and Hezbollah’s terror activity: Jewish teens from North America that leave behind the easy life for the Zionistic ideal.”

The Garin Tzabar program enables interested teens from all across the globe to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF (Zahal). In cooperation with the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim) and the Education and Youth Corps, the program accompanies the volunteers as they are absorbed in Israel living in kibbutzim and throughout their military service. Today, over 20 percent of the IDF (Zahal) are new immigrants.

Founded over 20 years ago, the Garin Tzabar project already helped over 1,500 teens from all around the world join the IDF (Zahal) and approximately 70 percent of the immigrants have stayed in Israel after their service.

With the Garin, they learn about the army and Israel, tour the country, and are prepared for their military service. The program gives them a home and supports the teens throughout their service. The number of teens joining the program as well as the number of Garin Tzabar soldiers taking on commanding positions increases every year.