Yedidut Zahala empowers at-risk Israeli teens to use their mandatory national service as a tool for establishing economic self- sufficiency, stability, personal meaning, and professional advancement. We helps teens take ownership of their futures; secure better positions in the IDF; succeed in these positions; and in turn, receive more vocational and professional training and exposure to career options as a contribute citizen in Israel.
Yedidut Zahala works with the Ministry of Education to identify youth from around the country which are at the highest risk. Groups of approximately fifteen participants are then formed. Each of the groups is run by an adult volunteer, usually a retired military officer, who guides the group of at-risk youth for three consecutive years. Every volunteer is obligated to commit to the program for three years to ensure continuity and cohesion for the groups. However, most volunteers end up staying far longer.
Each volunteer meets his or her group once a week for an activity about values, history and more, with expert guest lecturers from across professional sectors. In addition, the groups have numerous half-day and day-long outings which include tours of IDF bases, museums and historical sites in Israel.
The core values of Yedidut Zahala’s curriculum include friendship, love your neighbor, our justified right to the land of Israel, the pride of being part of the Israeli nation, the importance of enlisting in the Israeli army, and individual community responsibility and one’s duty to serve in the army.
“First of all I am proud of being Yedidut Zahala graduate… I want to say a big thank you from the bottom of my heart to Avi for your ongoing volunteerism. For three years you taught me and the group values and morals like the love of country. During those years I experienced exciting experiences. I’m sure all of what we have learned and experienced will be with us all the way and Will guide us…”
Mariana (Roy) Takla, Yedidut Zahala graduate – May 2013