The goal of “ISRAELis” is to create a persistent connection with the discharged soldier starting from his release from the military, and continuing during and after his “Big Trip” abroad. Our goal is to reach out to this specific audience and provide them with a basic conceptual foundation about their new role as ambassadors for Israel. Any former soldier who is interested can continue with us and increase their level of involvement through the platforms that we have created.
Our current annual budget for 2018 is $350,000. we anticipate training and accompanying 30,000 soldiers. The cost for each soldier's package is 15$.
- Basic training workshops conducted within the framework of pre-release IDF courses:
- Approximately 50,000 soldiers participate in the pre-release courses each year
- Our workshops include a one-hour frontal lecture about Israel’s image in the world, its influence on the Israeli traveler and the tools available to travelers for helping repair it.
- Advanced follow-up workshops and expanding the activist community:
- The 20% of participants in our workshops who are interested in taking a more meaningful and active role in the initiative will be invited to participate in advanced seminars.
- Digital platform for accompanying the travelers abroad:
- Application and website with videos and simple facts about Israel, for individual learning and available assistance when needed.
Who Are We?
We are a group of young Israelis who were raised with the values of love for, and contribution to, our country. We have all gone through the Israeli school system and military-preparatory programs, and have served between six and eight years in active duty as captains in an elite combat intelligence unit in the IDF. Like most young Israelis who have finished their active duty, we set out on our "Big Trip" to travel the world and meet new people. We returned with a new perspective about our role in Israel and saw the chance to seize upon an important opportunity to make a contribution to Israeli society. We felt that we would be addressing one of the most pressing issues facing the State of Israel.
Israel is a thriving, young and diverse country. Yet around the world, Israel has an image problem. Ordinary citizens abroad often have preconceptions and misunderstandings about Israel’s reality, basing their views upon one-sided accounts that ignore the country’s variety of opinions and experiences. These stereotypes are particularly worrisome among young adults, whose opinions and interests are still being shaped by what goes on in the world today. Due to the prevalence of young Israeli travelers in many regions of the world, a considerable number of young adults abroad will one day come into contact with such Israelis. Unfortunately, most of these Israeli travelers do not have the proper tools or platform from which to present their own opinions and personal narratives.
Each year, more than 400,000 Israelis between the ages of 20-24 (mostly discharged IDF soldiers) travel abroad. Many of them embark on their "Big Trip," a unique cultural phenomenon where post-army Israelis trek around the world to have fun, taste freedom and see new places. Traveling with nothing but a backpack, these young men and women are also eager to make new friends from all across the globe. These travelers represent Israel's future generation and can learn to become goodwill ambassadors for the State of Israel. When provided with the proper training and given the right tools, they can use their social experiences while traveling to make a positive change in the way Israel is perceived abroad.
"ISRAELis" is a non-profit educational program which is geared to prepare energetic and idealistic former soldiers to become “unofficial ambassadors” for Israel. Our understanding is that each one of these individuals has his or her own viewpoint of what Israel is all about. Our goal is to provide them with the skills to share their perspectives and personal stories, making them a bridge to help secure Israel's future.
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