In the Spring of 1983, “Sar-El” – The National Project for Volunteers for Israel – was founded as a non-profit, non-political organization (“Sar-El” is the Hebrew acronym meaning “Service for Israel”).

Over the years, volunteers from other countries came to partake in the project, and to date, Sar-El is represented in over 30 countries worldwide. Historically, Sar-El’s greatest number of volunteers have come from Volunteers for Israel (V.F.I.) in the U.S.A. and Volontariat Civil (U.P.I.) in France.



1. Goals 

Sar-El leadership adopted as its achievement of the following goals: 

  • Contribute to the promotion of Jewish continuity.
  • Create a cultural and educational exchange between the diaspora and Israel. 
  • Partner with all supporters of Israel in a mutually beneficial experience. 


2. Methods

Sar-El proposes to achieve its goals by encouraging volunteers from around the world to come to Israel for a number of weeks to experience the following: 

  • Working in I.D.F. warehouses.
  • Guided tours of interesting locations in Israel.
  • Lectures on Jewish and Israeli topics.


3. Benefits

Sar-El is proud to note that the program provides many additional benefits to include the following: 

  • Promotes Aliyah
  • Fosters new friendships
  • Contributes to Israel’s economy
  • Creates ambassadors of goodwill for Israel


The program is open to:  

  • Men and women ages 17 and older (16 with parent or guardian);  in good physical and mental health
  • Those eligible for Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return
  • Supporters of Israel

Contact / Enquiry


Sar-El Reviews

My Experience Volunteering with Sar-El (Volunteers for Israel)

In Israel, the days of spending some holiday time at a Kibbutz are almost gone. These days the way to go - on the cheapand interesting - is via an organisation called The National Project - Volunteers for Israel, or Sar-El.

When I got back to Ireland I was met with universal gasps of: 'You went WHERE?' and 'You did WHAT? Okay, these days everybody goes to Australia, Thailand or even Vietnam but nobody goes to Israel and does a volunteer week or two. There's nothing wrong with seeing the sights - especially on the cheap in Vietnam - but a week on an Israeli Defence Forces base shouldn't be missed. Not only do you get to meet and mix with more Israelis than ever you would at some beachfront café in Tel Aviv but the learning experience is well worth the work involved.

I went into a one-week programme although you can do longer stints - two or three week periods. Most programmes begin on a Sunday morning and you're met at Tel Aviv Airport by the Sar-El co-ordinator, an Israeli-American, Pamela Lazarus. While you do have to pay your own way to Israel, all food and lodging are covered by Sar-El while you're on the base. Uniforms are provided but no guns are involved!

The morning I arrived saw about fifty volunteers gathering at the airport. A totally international group - but I was the only person from Ireland. After we were divided up into groups we set off in a bus to 'our base' just outside Tel Aviv. What a diverse group we were - aged from 17 to 72; men and women, Jewish and Christian; students, retired people, a surgeon, a psychologist, a total computer geek!

We worked from about 9:00 to 4:30 with tea breaks and snacks plus lunch in the base canteen. The work itself wasn't hard …mostly sorting and packing army uniforms and equipment in a big warehouse. The work changes from base to base. The Israeli soldiers were delighted to have the help. There was a brilliant atmosphere and a lot of laughter mixed in with the work. Girls do military service in Israel too so there were 'G-I Janes' working with us. Israeli civilian volunteers also joined us from time to time.

Our group leaders were young Israeli soldiers who were raised in English speaking countries. They had activities each evening for us on the base - boredom was never a factor! Be sure to bring a camera, as there are lots of photo ops. Israel is a tourist's dreamland even if you're not religious…although obviously there are religious sites for Jews, Christians, Muslim and Baha'ai alike.

Tel Aviv rocks and the beaches and mountains are gorgeous. Down south, Eilat is a paradise for divers. English is widely spoken. Prices are quite moderate compared to Western Europe…certainly as compared to Ireland! Transport is remarkably cheap for train, bus, taxi or 'sherut' (shared taxi-minivans). Accommodation ranges from five star hotels to cheap hostels in Israel. There's even a hotel in Tel Aviv that will give a nice discount to Sar-El volunteers. The Hotel Adiv in Tel Aviv, one block from the beach, charges only US$65 (about 45 Euros) per night, big buffet breakfast included- and the hotel is really first class.

After you've volunteered with Sar-El you can get discounts on tours and museums/sites within Israel. A good, comprehensive guidebook is essential. I used the Lonely Planet's and just skipped the parts about the Palestinian Territories for the purposes of my trip. There is so much to do and see. You'll need to come up with a Plan A, B and probably C. Israel is a small country so you can dart about quite easily between activities and sites. The hardest task is deciding what to do in a limited period of time! Too much on offer!

Sar-El has volunteer programmes once or twice per month all through the year - check them out.

Enjoy and Shalom!

By: B. Haran
Nationality: Irish
Age: 21

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