The young women will have opportunities equal to those of their peers throughout the country and hence the gaps between the two groups will decrease.
Sherut leumi and service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are seminal periods in the lives of young Israelis, and a springboard for social/vocational/educational mobility. Yet, each year over 1,000 young women from problematic backgrounds are deferred by the IDF and deemed “unfit for military service” because of personal histories rife with emotional/behavioral problems. This perpetuates and even enlarges the gap between them and their more advantaged peers as they enter adulthood.
Volunteering can be leveraged as an educational-rehabilitation intervention for young women who have had to cope with challenges such as: out-of-home placements, living on the streets, incompatibility with frameworks, dysfunction and violence in the family (some 50% of our participants have been victims of sexual abuse). By providing a constellation of support services during the year of sherut leumi these young women undergo a profound transformation of empowerment, find sources of inner strength, and connect with their inherent, but heretofore untapped, abilities. We also provide guidance in the selection and preparation for an appropriate career.
240 young women participate in this special program, of whom some 60 require away-from-home housing solutions without which they cannot do sherut leumi.