Information Flyer


• 1- 2- & 3-week IDF army base programs are available year-round for ages 17+. In the summer, we offer enhanced 3-week INTERNATIONAL YOUTH PROGRAMS designed for young adults 17-25. 
• FREE Kosher meals, lodging, and work clothes are provided on IDF bases. 
• Day trips and cultural programs may be included. 
• NEW programs for 2019 and 2020! Special enhanced VFI PLUS and VFI PLUS ADVANCED programs combine volunteer work alongside soldiers on an IDF base with all-inclusive customized touring. Another option is our VFI PLUS ARCHAEOLOGY program that teams volunteer service on an IDF base with work at an ancient dig site + touring. All tours are private, guided and transport you around Israel in style. Visit


  • 1,200 - The approximate number of Americans who volunteer each year on Sar-El programs. 
  • 70+ - The number of countries that Sar-El volunteers call home when not helping out in Israel. 
  • 15 - The number of opportunities to savor the world’s best tomatoes, cucumbers and hummus - and the best dining companions. 
  • 6 - The number of Volunteers with whom you’ll share quarters—if you’re lucky! 
  • 5 - The number of work days on a Sunday–Thursday VFI program. 
  • 1-2 - The number of young IDF soldiers (madrichim) who serve as guides, aides, counselors and translators, and help to make your VFI volunteer adventure the experience of a lifetime. 
  • 1 - You – the person who can decide right now to help the Jewish homeland with your hands and your heart. 

Now is the time to back your beliefs with action and embark on a life-changing journey you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. To learn how you can volunteer with VFI, visit and check our Schedule and Contact information


Our mission is to strengthen American ties to Israel and the Israeli people through hands-on civilian volunteer service, and to show Israel that she doesn’t stand alone. We recruit, assist and process volunteers ages 17+ who will live on IDF logistics bases and work at non-combat jobs alongside Israelis and volunteers from many nations. There are programs year round. We offer acclaimed summer International Youth Programs (IYP) for young adults ages 17-25 and add-ons to Taglit-Birthright trips. Many students come during Spring and Winter Break. 


In the summer of 1982, Israel was in the midst of the Galilee War. Israeli reservists were being called up to defend the country just as the first crops of the season were ripening throughout the Jezreel Valley. The soldiers were needed to protect the country’s northern flank, but without their help in the fields the crop loss could be disastrous. With a crisis looming, Israeli General Aharon Davidi sent emissaries to the United States to enlist volunteers to help with the harvest. But would Americans leave their comfortable homes and travel half-way around the world to literally lend their hands to a foreign land in a troubled region? 


The response was immediate and overwhelming. More than 600 idealistic men and women signed on. Working in the fields like pioneers, they ignored long days and harsh living conditions, helped save the harvest, and freed up reservists to battle Israel’s enemies. Back home again, enthusiastic volunteers spread the word and started local chapters to create the national Volunteers for Israel. Since then, volunteers from more than 70 countries have served on programs administered in Israel by Sar-El, an Israeli organization with whom VFI partners. Sar-El is an acronym for “Service to Israel.” By donating their time and energy, volunteers have helped Israel ease her defense burden and save millions of shekels. VFI is a nonprofit, non-sectarian, non-political U.S. organization funded and administered independent of Sar-El.


Facing constant threats to her very existence, Israel needs our support today more than ever. You Can Make A Difference!


Economic aid: VFI volunteers make it possible for Israeli reservists to continue their education and remain at their jobs, saving Israel millions in work hours and salaries. A boost to morale: Volunteers are a diverse group of men and women ages 17 to 80+. They are students and retirees; Jews and non-Jews; first-timers and VFI veterans. On the job and throughout their travels in Israel, their presence lifts Israelis’ spirits and earns them an appreciative ”kol hakavod”—an Israeli thank you—and a pat on the back. Stand With Israel. In Israel: It’s one thing to talk the talk. But VFI volunteers walk the walk. Their willingness to go anywhere in Israel they are sent and do the work that is needed is a powerful, visible demonstration of their commitment.


Pride and Purpose: Experience the gratification, pride and satisfaction that come with knowing you’re making a personal difference for a country and people you care deeply about. Friendship: Volunteers may meet as strangers, but soon become good friends. Many stay in touch with their new buddies from all around the U.S. and all corners of the world; many return to serve together again; some meet their beshert and marry; and several have made aliyah—thanks to VFI. Fun and adventure: Are you getting tired of your same old predictable routine? Come out of the tourist bubble and experience the real Israel with us. You might find yourself working on a bustling base near Tel Aviv or a remote camp in the desert. You might pack life-saving medical supplies, hang barbed wire, repair equipment, or help prepare hearty meals in an army kitchen. You might be dirty and tired at the end of the day. But this much we can promise: You’ll never be bored, and you’ll have amazing stories and wonderful memories to cherish forever.

“It was a great opportunity to participate in Israeli culture in a way that you can’t as a tourist. It was also a cool opportunity to give back and show my support.” —NICOLE CRABTREE, EUGENE, OR 

“It was hot; it was exhausting; it was dirty; it was frustrating; it was wonderful…an experience of a lifetime. I have rarely, if ever, felt more useful or appreciated. Do it again? YOU BET I WILL!” —MICHAEL PECULLAN, FLORAL PARK, NY 

“My wife and I go together, and we love the experience. We talk about it to everyone who will listen. And if they’re not listening, we keep on talking.” —MORRIS AND JOYCE SHOR, TELFORD, PA

What To Expect

Sar-El volunteering takes place on IDF bases throughout the whole of Israel from the northern points of the Golan to deep in the Southern Negev. The bases can be very hot in the summer and very cool on winter nights depending on base location. The work of Sar-El is to assist Israel with the incredible burden that is placed on active and reserve citizen soldiers and so the volunteer work will be centered in logistical support.

All volunteers are expected to follow the IDF schedule and be present for morning reveille as well as partake in morning and afternoon work sessions.
All volunteer groups are assigned an IDF team leader who will always be present to assist volunteers with any issues. Here is a sample week for a volunteer:


Please keep in mind that all volunteers should land before Sunday noon at 12:00pm and arrive to the meeting point at Ben Gurion Airport in the arrivals hall in terminal 3. We will need all volunteers to check in with their application, passport, medical forms, doctor’s authorization. All volunteers will be assigned to their military base and their soldier instructor at this point and meet the rest of the volunteers in their unit by noon of their program start date (Please note that late arrivals will be required to arrange their own private transportation at their own expense  if they miss their departure time).

Please remember the following before arrival:

You will be given a uniform upon arrival at the base but boots are not always available so bring appropriate work boots or shoes for the base. Uniform must be worn while on base and while on duty.
We recommend everyone brings flip-flops for the common shower areas as well as your personal towel and linens (the army does provide a sleeping bag and cot).
A great attitude and willingness to work for Israel with your fellow volunteers.

Volunteer Week:

Please note that this is a sample itinerary and will vary according to the military base, the work demands and the season:

Breakfast from 8:15
Flag Raising and news and directives of the day at 9:00
Morning work session 9:30
Lunch at 12:30
Afternoon work session at 13:30
Unit break at 17:00
Dinner at 18:00
Evening Unit meeting – 19:00


(see our link to Weekend Hotels)
Bases close for the Shabbat weekends so you will be released on Thursday and will be picked up on Sunday for the return to the base. Many volunteers take this time to tour the country or see friends. Many volunteers who have signed up for 2-3 week tours will have the opportunity to take an educational sight-seeing trip with Sar-El. Please DO NOT be late for the Sunday base departure or you will be expected to arrange your own transportation at your own expense to reach the base.

Departure Day:

Please check with your unit instructor on exact details of your departure time and drop-off location as this will vary from base to base.

Remember that your volunteer service contributes to the security of Israel and we hope you have a meaningful experience. If any issue arises, please check in with your unit team leader for assistance.

Boot Camp With a Twist

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