Daily Israel Report

Online 'Webinar' To Help Jewish Youth Join the Israeli Army

Tune in this Sunday for an online interactive live streaming video on moving to Israel and joining the Israeli Defense Force.
By INN Staff
First Publish: 3/16/2013, 7:41 PM

Rabbi Michael Cohen, program director of the Keshet Yehuda Pre Military Academy's Aliyah and Integration Program and co-host of Israel National Radio's Aliyah Fever Show will be holding a special live streaming video "webinar" to answer questions on moving to Israel.

The online seminar will be simulcast on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio's live audio stream and can be viewed on any computer or internet-ready mobile device.

Scheduled to speak are Robert and Yaakov Frisch, father and son respectively, who will discuss the ramifications of a Jewish-American leaving the country to enroll in the Israel Defense Force. Yaakov Frisch is currently a student in the Keshet Yehuda Aliyah and IDF Preparation Program. Kesher graduate Hanan Leiberman will discuss his experience in an IDF combat unit and his post-army life. Also speaking will be program director Rabbi Michael Cohen.

The live video will focus on young men today decide to make Aliyah [immigrate] to Israel after they graduate high school. One common theme found in them is an ideological dedication to the nation and land of Israel. In the majority of cases this is irrespective of individual religious approach.

Such men make a massive shift in their lives in which they uproot from their familiar surroundings and culture and move to a different culture in Israel. In most cases one must create a new social network of Israeli friends, acquire the Hebrew language, and adapt to Israeli culture.

This move should not be taken for granted and can result in pressure, Rabbi Cohen stated. Adjustment time before moving to Israel may be called for in some cases.

Many programs exist today to cater to the variety of young olim [immigrants]. These programs help in different aspects of immigrant absorption such as learning the language, making Israeli friends, preparation for the army, and getting to know the geography and sites in the country.

The Keshet Yehuda Pre-Military Academy works on all those aspects for one full academic year. Army preparation is not necessarily only getting in good physical shape.  Mental and spiritual condition is also taken into consideration, Rabbi Cohen told Arutz Sheva news.

The percentage of men in a Mechina army preparatory program who become officers is much higher than in the non Mechina population.  According to research published in the military journal Ma’arachot, 80 percent of religious preparatory program graduates join combat units, compared to 40 percent of all soldiers. Furthermore,  20 - 25 percent become officers, compared to 7 - 9 percent of all soldiers.  In three graduating officer course in June of 2012 statistics showed that 54 out of 216 officer training school graduates had attended a Mechina program prior to enlistment.  This is a very high number when compared to the relative number of Mechina graduates in the army.

Rabbi Cohen stated, that the men in the program are encouraged to "know who you are, know what you are a part of and  know what you are fighting for."

He continued, "you are a soul, an integral part of the Nation of Israel which is coming to life after 2000 years of exile.  You are joining the IDF in order to defend your nation and thus help along the revival of our nation in our land.  This advances the fulfillment of our role in the world of being a light to all the nations by representing ultimate morality and truth."

"Preparation for army service will help you achieve a good unit, enhance your ability to handle hardships and challenges and push you forward to serve as a excellent soldier and serve as a model to your fellow soldiers.  You will be able to remain loyal to the ideal even in hard times," Rabbi Cohen added.

The conference will take place Sunday March 17th at 7:00 pm Israel time. For free registration visit www.IDFprep.org.

Aliyah Fever is hosted by Avraham Venismach & Rabbi Michael Cohen. They present information regarding making aliyah including purchasing real estate, joining the army, obtaining employment and positive inspiration. The program airs every Wednesday from 7:00PM to 8:00PM on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio's English language live streaming audio feed. For podcast archives click here.