One should note that the following units are some of the most elite units in the world. Their training is long and very intense, only for the best of the best. It is rare that a Lone Soldier passes all the requirments to join these units and complete training. A very high level of Hebrew is required as well.
The following programs enable young Jews from all over the world to volunteer for the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and become regular Israeli soldiers. The programs aim to contribute to Israel’s defense and to provide knowledgeable and enthusiastic young leaders for Jewish communities.
*There is a new requirement for all machal soldiers to complete a 6 – week pre-army course. There are a few options of courses, at good option is Garin Mahal.
The Regular Mahal program is for men younger than 24 and women younger than 21. Eligible are non-Israeli Jews, descendants of a Jewish grandparent. The program consists of 18 months of IDF service of which you will be a full IDF soldier.
Netzah Yehuda was designed for the Haradim (Black Hat Community). The unit offers Glatt Kosher food, allocated time for learning. Shabbat observance is mandatory to enlist in the unit. There currently is no ulpan given to those with poor Hebrew. Soldiers learn Hebrew while training. For more info you can see the official site of Netzah Yehuda – http://www.nahalharedi.
The Mahal Hesder program is for non-Israeli religious (dati) Jewish men younger than 24. The program consists of 6 1/2 months of studies in a Yeshivat Hesder (IDF Rabbinical College) followed by at least 14 1/2 months of IDF service, in total 21 months.
*Machal soldiers are not eligible to join elite units or become officers.
Overseas Israelis and their Children:
The duration of service will be the same as for the regular Machal program, if the candidate states that they plan to return abroad upon completion of army service. If the candidate decides to stay in Israel when they complete their service (by declaring their citizenship & filling out a residency form), they will have to complete additional service, depending on their age when they first arrived in Israel and their family status on the day they were declared a resident of Israel.
This is an affiliate program of Israel Scouts which provides a framework for lone soldiers, coming outside of Israel, to join and serve in the IDF. The program begins in your home country with three seminars. In these seminars, you will learn about the IDF and process to see if this is what you want to do. You also get to meet the people that you will potentially live and serve with when you move to Israel.
You then will then make Aliyah on your own and meet up with your garin on a kibbutz in Israel. In the next three months you will prepare for you draft and service. The kibbutz will be your home during your service and Garin Tzabar will provide you with an excellent support system and a host family. There is also a staff of former soldiers that will prep you for service and help you with the draft process.