For the adventurous among us, here are two great options for a unique Summer and Fall 2019 experience to Israel with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
Since 1983 Sar-El has been bringing volunteers to Israel to work in a support role on IDF bases while also gaining a better cultural understanding of Israel through guided, lectures and interaction with Israelis. Sar-El has welcomed more than 160,000 volunteers over the years.
The benefits of this program are that besides assisting the IDF, volunteers also foster friendships with Israeli soldiers and make connections with Israeli Jews. Sar-El’s goal is to have 10,000 volunteers annually contribute to the welfare and security of Israel. Volunteers come from across the globe and last year the IDF sponsored program hosted people from over 60 countries.
Volunteers are welcomed who are above the age of 18 and are physically and mentally able to contribute to the work detail as provided by the IDF. Many Christians and non-Jews join the Jewish supporters of Israel each year to contribute to the welfare and security of the homeland of the Jewish people.
Volunteers for Israel – VFI
VFI is a US-based program that offers American volunteers an opportunity to serve on an IDF army base in cooperation with Sar-El and includes work on an archaeological dig as well as travel off the beaten path around Israel.
Here are their 2019 programs:
VFI-PLUS ARCHAEOLOGY (Sept. 8-21) brings volunteers to an army base and an active archaeological dig site staffed by an international team and supervised by Tel Aviv University. This 14-day program combines 5 days of volunteer work on an IDF base, 5 days of work at a professional dig site in the City of David, next to Old City Jerusalem, and 4 days of custom touring out-of-the-way locations.
VFI-PLUS (Oct. 25-Nov. 11) is designed for first-time volunteers and includes two weeks of service on an IDF base, working alongside active-duty soldiers and experiencing an inside look at life in the Israeli army. It also includes eight days of private tours across Israel. The 17-day, all-inclusive program also welcomes veteran volunteers.
VFI-PLUS ADVANCED (Dec. 6-22) is designed for repeat travelers to Israel and offers two weeks of volunteer service on an IDF base and eight days of guided touring to places overlooked by many tours. The 17-day, all-inclusive program is designed for first-time as well as veteran volunteers.