Mahal is for Jewish people or those eligible to immigrate to Israel who are interested in volunteering to serve in the Israel Defense Forces without immigrating to the State of Israel. Signup for Mahal is conducted by the Ministry of Defense
All the information on Mahal
The Mahal course is open to women aged 18 to 20 and men aged 18 to 23 who are eligible for immigration and have lived most of their life outside of Israel or have lived cumulatively less than a year in Israel (a year and a half if they were participating in a program formally recognized by the State of Israel). In addition, candidates whose parents immigrated to Israel before the candidate reached 20 years of age are not eligible for Mahal.
The Mahal course is divided into three categories: Regular, Haredi, and Hesder.
This course is for volunteers in a wide range of positions. The length of service is 18 months. Candidates Hebrew skills will be tested and those with low results will attend a Hebrew improvement program.
- Haredi (חרדי)
This course is for male volunteers who are Haredi or religious. The length of service is 18 months. These volunteers serve in specially designated units for Haredi or religious soldiers such as the Netzah Yehuda battalion in the Kfir brigade, the Tomer company in the Givati brigade, and the Hetz company in the Paratrooper brigade.
- Hesder (הסדר)
This course is for Hesder Yeshiva students close to or after one year of study. The length of service is 21 months which is divided between 4 months of service without payment while studying in Yeshiva and 17 months of active army service.
?What does the course include
In order to volunteer in the Regular course candidates must contact the Ministry of Defense and in order to volunteer in the Hesder course candidates must contact the Association of Hesder Yeshivot (איגוד ישיבות ההסדר). Relevant candidates will be invited to an interview approximately two months before their draft date and will have their first meeting with the army (צו ראשון) shortly thereafter. Female candidates do not have to attend Yom Hamea (יום המא”ה).
Throughout the two months before their draft, volunteers in the Hesder course will participate in days of touring, learning, and preparation. One month before their draft, volunteers in the Hesder and Regular courses will participate in a program to prepare them for drafting. In this program the volunteers will prepare mentally and physically, learn about Israel, visit historic and modern sites, strengthen their Zionist and Jewish identities, and improve their Hebrew language skills.
Volunteers cannot serve in positions which require security clearance because they are not Israeli citizens. Acceptance to certain positions requiring longer service length or longer placement processes will also be limited. In addition, volunteers who fit the requirements will be given Lone Soldier status.
Israeli citizens who are able to volunteer in the Mahal course
The following Israeli candidates are able to volunteer in Mahal: candidates with Israeli citizenship whose parents are immigrants, candidates who were born abroad to Israeli parents, or candidates that were born in Israel and moved abroad before the age of 10. These aforementioned candidates are able to serve as Mahal volunteers so long as they followed the guidelines regarding their visits to Israel.
If a volunteer wants to immigrate to Israel (עלייה) during their service, the length of their service will be increased according to the procedures and conditions. If a volunteer wants to stay in Israel up to two years after their army service has ended they will have to complete their service according to the rules and the army’s needs.