IDF (Zahal) welcomes volunteers from all around the world and celebrates International Volunteer Day with a variety of volunteer programs

Date: 06/12/2011, 7:09 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Every year, over 300 Jewish teens from all around the world volunteer to serve in the IDF (Zahal) and approximately 4,000 Jews and non-Jews from 30 countries fly to Israel and volunteer in the IDF (Zahal) for several weeks. The IDF (Zahal) welcomes and appreciates these inspirational volunteers who instill motivation with their dedication and goodwill.

In honor of the annual International Volunteer Day, take a look at the various programs through which volunteers from all around the world choose to contribute to the IDF (Zahal).

The Garin Tzabar Project

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 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.

Hadar Shabbat (18) from Hong Kong immigrated to Israel in August 2011 through the Garin Tzabar program. Although she lived abroad most of her life, Hadar’s love for Israel remained strong throughout the years, and when an Israeli Tzofim branch opened in Hong Kong the decision was obvious. “I felt that this was my opportunity to make a dream come true – move to Israel and join the IDF (Zahal). My parents supported me completely and with time my dream became a reality.”

Although she moved to Israel on her own, Shabat will not be enlisting alone. “It’s scary to live without your family,” she said, “but there are five friends from Hong Kong in my Garin that I’ve known for years. That’s a great relief.”

Hadar believes that joining the IDF (Zahal) should be viewed as a privilege, not an obligation. “It’s an incredible experience and opportunity to grow and learn so many new things. More than anything, it’s an opportunity to give back to the country,” she said.

International Volunteers Day in the IDF (Zahal)

Sar-El Volunteer Program

Sar-El, the National Project for Volunteers for Israel enables both Jews and non-Jews of all ages and from any country to come to Israel and volunteer in the IDF (Zahal). Wearing official IDF (Zahal) uniforms, the volunteers tour Israel and package boxes of food for combat soldiers. They play an important role in handling logistical needs and annually save the IDF (Zahal) hundreds of thousands of hours in manpower.

Since 1983, Sar-El brought more than a hundred thousand volunteers to Israel. Yesterday, the international community also marked International Volunteer Day.
Staying in Israel for several weeks, the participants share a true IDF (Zahal) experience on IDF (Zahal) bases.

IDF (Zahal) embraces volunteering abroad, with aid delegations to disaster sites all around the world. Read more about IDF (Zahal) rescuers who voluntarily save lives