Supporting disadvantaged youth through service learning and immersion


Mechinot improve young adults’ physical and mental stamina.

The IDF is considered the 'great equaliser' in Israeli society - a melting pot where national solidarity and camaraderie are forged.

Service in elite units is almost certainly a key to future success and a springboard for social mobility.  

Mechinot have a transformative effect on participants, enhancing their maturity and readiness for the military, and paving the way for acceptance to higher-level IDF units. 

Young girls learning how to camp out

These academies help give disadvantaged Israeli youth a brighter future. Youth from Israel’s social and geographic periphery often lack the qualifications for acceptance into these select units and are typically placed in low-level positions.

What we offer

Keren Hayesod-UIA supports pre-army academies (Mechinot) focused on supporting disadvantaged youth to enhance their military service and enriches their commitment to Israel, the global Jewish family and their community. Mechinot cater for 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.

Ofek Mechinot 
This program serves over 500 at-risk youth from Israel’s social and geographic periphery. These teens are usually enlisted to lower-level units and are also more likely not to complete their full service, putting them at further risk for delinquency and underachievement.

Keren Hayesod-UIA supports 12 Ofek Mechinot which generate significant change for participating young men and women and for Israeli society as a whole. They gain the ability and opportunity to reach their leadership potential, achieve success in their army roles and solidify their ties to Israel and the Jewish people. 

Kol Ami Mechinot 
Six-month programs designed to create an international network of young leaders who take responsibility for impacting the future of the Jewish people. 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.

The program maintains a 60% Israeli and 40% Diaspora teen ratio. Kol Ami’s 240 participants in 6 groups enjoy a program rich in textual and experiential learning.

This project is in partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Government of Israel and local authorities.

locations operate Mechinot

Graduates have more meaningful military service

youth participate annually

Programs of up to six months

Support students from the periphery through MechinotPlease Donate