Young Olim meeting with Meitav
Young Olim meeting with MeitavYonit Schiller

As the war in Gaza continues, hundreds of Olim from various countries have been called up for army service and more are expected to enlist in the coming months as part of the country’s mandatory IDF requirement.

In an effort to make the enlistment process more accessible to these newcomers, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with “Wings”, a joint program of the Jewish Agency, Merage Foundation Israel, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration and the IDF’s Meitav unit, hosted Olim Al Madim at the Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah Campus in Jerusalem. Over 500 participants, aged 16-22, who have made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) either on their own or together with their families, and are now required to enlist in the IDF, attended the fair.

Meitav, the IDF unit responsible for supervising new soldiers, established a mobile recruitment office with multiple stations set up for attendees to submit relevant enrollment documents and receive information on recruitment and placement options, psychological evaluation exams, Hebrew proficiency tests, military service conditions, academic degree track options, and more. Additionally, representatives from the Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldiers Program, “Wings”, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, and the IDF Human Resources Department were on-site to personally engage with participants, as well as answer any questions

they might have in preparation for their army service.

Over ten IDF units, including Paratroopers, Golani, Nahal, Maglan, Combat Engineering Corps, Border Police, Artillery Corps and the Home Front Command, presented valuable insights into the roles of the IDF units and enlistment criteria, thereby assisting them in exploring which units are available to them.

"I salute and thank the young Olim who will soon become soldiers and serve in the IDF,” said Minister of Aliyah and Integration, MK Ofir Sofer. “You left your homes and families in far-off countries and will now enlist and defend the State of Israel, out of firm belief in the fulfillment of the Zionist dream, while our country is at war in Gaza and up North. While Israel is expected to face many challenges, you have chosen to take an active part and play an important role here. Together with all of our partners and the various Aliyah organizations who have taken part in today’s event, I wish you all much luck in your service. We will continue working to provide you with all the support needed in your pre-enlistment stage, as well as during and following your service with rent subsidies, special grants, and guidance.”

“It was a privilege for us to host on our campus these hundreds of young, inspiring Olim as they embark on their journey to serve and protect our homeland,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Our staff is dedicated to supporting these incredibly motivated and Zionistic young men and women before, during, and after their service in the IDF. We will continue to provide the resources, support, and guidance necessary to ensure their smooth acclimation to Israel, and support them throughout their mandatory army service.”

“These young people making Aliyah are not alone. We all make an effort to embrace them,” said Yaron Shavit, Deputy Chair of The Jewish Agency for Israel. “The Wings program of The Jewish Agency, Merage Foundation Israel, and the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration accompany the young men and women before they draft, during their service, and after their discharge from the IDF. For me, this exciting event with the hundreds of Olim enlisting in the IDF is a double closing of the circle - as the deputy chair of The Jewish Agency that supports these Olim, and also as a host family for two lone soldier Olim who have become members of our family. Like their brothers and sisters - they became members of our Israeli nuclear family.”

Nicole Hod Stroh, CEO of the Merage Foundation Israel, expressed that “The young individuals immigrating alone, especially following the October 7th attack, are proudly supported during these challenging times by the Merage Foundation in partnership with the Wings program. These dedicated young Zionists chose to relocate and stand with Israel in these difficult circumstances. We salute you and are honored to accompany you throughout this journey, from the moment of Aliyah, through your army service, and beyond.”