Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

The Israeli army 'Gap Yah'

Gap year students usually spend their 12-month sabbatical between school and university helping the underprivileged or exploring the world.

    Jay Shultz (white trousers) being carried by recruits on a wilder-ness training course in the north of Israel
    Jay Shultz (white trousers) being carried by recruits on a wilder-ness training course in the north of Israel

    Gap year students usually spend their 12-month sabbatical between school and university helping the underprivileged or exploring the world. Most never consider another option - joining the IDF.

    "The Israeli army has never recruited outside Israel," said Jay Shultz, co-founder of a new organisation, JoinTheIDF.com, which helps diaspora Jews join the Israeli army or the Israeli civil service for a fee of £1,800.

    "Not since Begin and Ben-Gurion went around Europe and north America, to get young Jews to fight for the fledgling state, has anyone recruited for the Jewish army," claimed Mr Shultz.

    The benefits of signing up, he said, were not limited to combat training and discipline. Recruits also forge a bond with Israel.

    "Even if they decide not to stay in Israel afterwards," said Mr Shultz, "when they go back to campuses they will be warriors for Israel in terms of fighting for Israel's moral legitimacy."

    US-born Mr Shultz, 33, moved to Tel Aviv from New York four years ago.

    He launched JoinTheIDF.com because of what he perceives as a "waning Jewish identity" and "waning Jewish connection to Israel". The first group of 25 recruits recently completed a rigorous six-week training programme that included boot camp, ulpan, and lessons in Jewish history and Zionism. They were drafted into their army units a few weeks ago.

    "Now they are the property of the Israeli army," said Mr Shultz.

    Mr Shultz realises that joining the Israeli army carries more risks than the Peace Corps.

    "If they die we will mourn them and our tears will be sincere," he said.

    But he added: "Jews not connecting to the land of Israel at a young age poses a greater risk - assimilation."

Israel

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel on fire: Counting cost of a nationwide i...
Israel

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israeli navy submarine deal could be sunk
Israel

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

New cases for the Negev's genetic detective
Israel

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...

Orlando Radice

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Israel fire eyewitness: 'We were trying to out-...
Israel

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...

JC Reporter

Friday, November 25, 2016

Arabs and Palestinians around the world celebra...
Israel

Bibi faces probe over subs deal

Anshel Pfeffer

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bibi faces probe over subs deal
Israel

Meet the rabbi that's making waves

Tim Marshall

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Meet the rabbi that's making waves
Israel

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...

JC Reporter

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tens of thousands evacuated as bush fires rage ...
Israel

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace

Nathan Jeffay

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Israeli rabbis, Hamas founder call for peace