Quick facts about Volunteers for Israel
What is VFI? Volunteers for Israel is a U.S. non-profit organization whose mission is to connect Americans to Israel through volunteer service. VFI is the only organization that creates opportunities for civilian volunteers to serve on IDF military bases, alongside Israeli soldiers, and other volunteers from around the world.
What’s the routine? Volunteers serve for up to three weeks on an IDF base providing non-combat support such as packing medical supplies, repairing machinery and equipment, and maintaining the IDF bases. Meals on base and lodging in military housing are included. Shabbat weekends are spent off-base and free accommodations at an IDF volunteer hostel are available.
Are volunteers officially in the army? No. Although volunteers live on IDF bases, have meals in base dining areas and wear army-issued uniforms for volunteering, they are not soldiers. VFI participants are civilians who have been approved to volunteer in Israel following a detailed application process and interviews.
Who can volunteer? Anyone at least 17-years-old (16 with a parent or guardian) can apply to volunteer during scheduled sessions throughout the year. Volunteers include individuals from all walks of life including students, parents, older adults, and all those who want to develop a deep connection to Israel that ensures its security and well-being. VFI is a non-religious organization; volunteers include Jewish and non-Jewish community members.
What is Sar-El? VFI partners with Sar-El (“Service to Israel”), which is an Israeli organization, to secure on-base volunteer opportunities. Upon arrival in Israel, volunteers are greeted by Sar-El staff and volunteer group leaders. VFI and Sar-El are separate organizations with the same purpose of creating volunteer opportunities with the IDF.
Ways to experience Israel like never before: Go beyond being just a tourist
Young Adults: A 1-to-3-week program for volunteers ages 17–25 that is offered over summer college breaks and year-round. Volunteer and live on an IDF base yourself or with friends.
VFI (Regular): A 1-to-3-week volunteer program with sessions offered year-round. Live on an IDF base, meet volunteers from around the world, and spend Shabbat weekends seeing Israel.
VFI Plus Advanced: A 17-day, all-inclusive, deluxe experience of volunteering on an IDF base with expanded, guided tours throughout Israel. See the country and serve with pride!
VFI Plus Archeology: A 14-day, all-inclusive, enriching program that includes volunteering on an IDF base, touring Israel and getting your hands dirty at a professional dig site in Jerusalem. Awaken your inner Indiana Jones!