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.


What are the types of units?

Army jobs usually fall into 3 general categories: Combat, Non-combat, and Combat Support. 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.


What is the typical length of service?

The typical Israeli army service for citizens (including Olim) is 2 years and 8 months for guys and 2 years for girls. Volunteering (Machal) is 18 months. Below you can read more about different drafting options; the length of service may be different if you choose one of those options.


What kind of support do you get when drafting?

  1. There are many different organizations with which you can draft. These organizations will help place you in a job and support you before and throughout your service. They are the middleman between you and the army.
  2. Your choices 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.


What is the drafting process?

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 (non combat) or Gibush (combat).
Step 3 – Miyunim (non combat) or Sayeret (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:

Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldier Program
Aluma (support for religious girls and their rights)
Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center
Lev Lachayal
Beit Almog Shiloni
Garin Tzabar
Mechinat Otzem
Hadas Chul

For more info on starting off life in Israel: