Serving in the IDF can be rewarding and challenging. The army is a huge organization with endless complexities, nuances, and exceptions, so the best way to be prepared is to become as informed as possible.
Top 5 things to know as you start your journey:
The types of units:
Army jobs usually fall into 3 general categories: Combat, Non-combat, and Combat Support. For a more detailed list of categories click here You usually can choose a preference of which you want, however where you are placed is often determined by what organization you are drafting with and your medical profile.
Length of service:
The typical Israeli army service for citizens (including Olim) is 3 years for guys and 2 years for girls, and volunteering (Machal) is 18 months. Below you will read more about different drafting options; the length of service may be different if you choose one of those options.
Support in Drafting:
There are many different organizations that you can draft with. Drafting through an organization means they will help place you in a job and support you before and throughout your service. Think of them as the middleman between you and the army.
Your choice on which to choose can depend on your gender, whether or not you plan to make Aliyah, if you’re looking for a religious framework, and how long you want your service to be. For a list of different options click here.
Now that you’ve chosen an organization to draft with, this is what your drafting process itself will look like. Please note that this is a very general outline of what the process looks like, there is a good chance that your process will be a modification of this due to your specific circumstances.
Step 1 - Tzav Rishon
Step 2 - Yom Hameya for non combat or Gibush for combat
Step 3 - Miyunim for non combat, Sayeret for combat
Step 4 - Draft Day!
There is a good chance that as an Oleh you will draft to either the Moledet or Ulpan programs:
- Moledet is a 1.5 month long course that covers basic training and cultural integration.
Ulpan is a 3 month course that covers basic training, cultural integration and basic ulpan.
** While both these programs include basic training, you may have to repeat basic training depending on your unit placement.
Help and support
There are organizations out there to help and support lone soldiers throughout their service and to make sure they are getting what they need: