Sarel Volunteers for Israel
Volunteer for Israel by Fred Heins
Last august I joined a group of 28 volunteers, who came to spend 3 weeks in the Israeli Army on a Sar-El Program. Many of these people, have done this program numerous times.
Fred salutes the flag of Israel
Why do these people come? They feel that they are contributing something to Israel. And they are.
Yearly there are around 3000 to 4000 volunteers joining the Sar-El program.
Groups come over from all over the world, and do the work that soldiers otherwise would have to do. I was about 30 minutes from the center of Tel Aviv.
The name Matzrap is an acronym for Merkaz Tziud Refui—Central Medical Supply. The volunteers there work mainly on xxxxx (edited, censored) by medics and doctors on the battlefield, but also for humanitarian causes (such as tsunamis, earthquakes and floods all over the world). The supplies prepared by the Sar-El volunteers are packed and used for situations like these. The Israeli medical delegations have saved many lives in many countries which suffered from disasters like the one in Haiti
My day went something like this:
Wake up around 6.30am
Flag raising at 7.45am.
Announcements given by the madricha’s in charge of us. (Volunteers are assigned to a liaison or a guide, called a "madrich" or” madricha” in Hebrew. He or She is a soldier who has been specifically screened and trained for the Sar-El program.).
08.30 am Go to work assignments.
Return to work until 4pm.,
Most people in my room were in bed sound asleep by 10.00pm.
In the evenings there is an evening activity we learned some Israeli songs and the Hatikva, we learned some army slang, we had a lecture from a writer who served as a nurse in the Hagannah during the war of independence, one evening a gave a Krav Maga training.
After the evening activity you could watch tv in the clubroom or sit outside and have nice conversations with your fellow volunteers.
Each week the army took us to places like Zihkron Ya’Akov and the Hagannah museum in Tel Aviv. These outings were very nice.
I met some great people and know that some of us will keep in touch in the future. We all worked very hard and I know that the soldiers were very appreciative of us.
We worked from Sunday till Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday in the afternoon, after a room inspection by one of the drill sergeants, a bus picks you up and bring you to Tel Aviv, from there it’s your choice how you want to spent the Shabbat.
You can go and visit friends, or tour around the beautiful country or you can use the organizations Hostel in Old Yafo Tel Aviv.