VFI partners with the Israeli organization Sar-El to process and prepare Americans to volunteer on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) supply/logistics bases. Sar-El is an acronym for the Hebrew words Sherut L’Yisrael (Service to Israel).
“Your activities bind Diaspora Jewry with their ancient homeland… The volunteers have looked and have fallen in love with the landscape of the country, its citizens, and the Jewish atmosphere, unparalleled in the whole world.”
Letter from Yitzhak Rabin, Israel Minister of Defense, to Volunteers for Israel Sar-El, October 31, 1984.
In addition to its dedicated volunteers from abroad, the Sar-El program also includes volunteers from Israel, among them disabled veterans of the IDF and senior citizens. In this way, the program has built a community of volunteers– both nationally and internationally– whose common goal is to ensure Israel’s security and well-being.
On numerous occasions, Israel has honored Sar-El’s chairman and founder, General Dr. Aharon Davidi (z”l), and the program he began.
- In celebration of Israels Independence Day in 2000, Davidi was honored to light one of the twelve memorial torches on Mt. Herzl.
- In 2001, Sar-El volunteers were invited to the home of the President of the State of Israel on two separate occasions in recognition of their outstanding volunteer activities.
- In 2010, General Davidi won the annual Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. He also received Israels Presidents Award for his dedication to the volunteer project over the years.
- On two occasions, Israel’s President named a Sar-El madricha Outstanding Soldier of the Year.
After Davidi’s death in 2012, Ehud Barak, who was formerly the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister, wrote about him:
“I see Davidi as a special commander, a leading combat officer and one of the creators of the IDF’s fighting force. His contribution to the molding of the IDF’s norms of combat, with an emphasis on leadership under enemy fire, was extraordinary….Brig. Gen. (res.) Dr. Aharon Davidi was and will always remain a figure of excellence in the annals of IDF history, and the history of the State of Israel.”
The Sar-El organization continues to exemplify Davidi’s values in all of its endeavors.