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Assisting young Israelis pre-military enlistment

Mechinot -gap year

What are mechinot?

We support pre-army academies (Mechinot) specially focused on supporting disadvantaged youth. These programs enable youth from all walks of Israeli life to benefit from a transformative learning experience that enhances their military service and enriches their commitment to Israel, the global Jewish family, and their community. Mechinot are tailored to address the challenges of different sectors of Israeli society, including Druze, Bedouin, lone soldiers from the Diaspora and from Israeli society, Ethiopian teens, Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and disadvantaged young women. We support Ofek Mechinot, Kol Ami Mechinot and Barak Mechinot.

Mechinot - gap year

Why Mechinot

Why Mechinot?

The Israel Defense Forces is considered the “great equalizer” in Israeli society. Military service is a rite of passage that provides an entry ticket into Israeli society. Service in elite units is almost certainly a key to future success and a springboard for social mobility. Yet, youth from Israel’s social and geographic periphery are underrepresented in the IDF and are typically placed in low-level positions. They do not get the opportunity to have an army experience that can be a springboard for social mobility and make connections that could benefit them in the future.

(Photo by David Salem for The Jewish Agency for Israel)


Mechinot -gap year

Our Mechinot

Ofek Mechinot serve 500 at-risk youth from Israel’s social and geographic periphery. Participants are usually enlisted to lower-level units and risk further delinquency as they are more likely to not complete their full service. Their mechina experience helps them gain confidence, leadership skills and achieve success in their army roles.

Kol Ami Mechinot are 6-month programs designed to create an international network of young Jewish leaders. Participants from the Diaspora and their Israeli counterparts live and learn together in a Jewish pluralistic environment identifying the unique challenges of their various Jewish communities. Kol Ami’s 240 participants in 6 groups enjoy a program rich in textual and experiential learning.

Barak Mechinot were created in response to the need of lone immigrant soldiers. Every year, hundreds of young adults from around the world choose to voluntarily serve in the IDF. The mechinot help them gain Hebrew language skills and learn about Israel’s cultural, political and social intricacies. At its 3 locations, Barak Mechinot help 200 highly motivated participants from 17 different countries to integrate into Israeli life and have a meaningful and positive army experience. The professional team supports participants before, during and after their IDF service.


You Can Help!

Every donation to Keren Hayesod helps to strengthen the people of Israel. An Israeli youth from a disadvantaged background can enjoy a 6-month pre-military academy for US$4,000. Donations of all amounts are welcome to support Mechinot through Keren Hayesod.

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Quick Facts About Mechinot

disadvantaged youth




programs up to 6 months