6 Week Pre Military Program


Garin lit. "core" is a term used in Israel for a group of soldiers who choose to experience their army service together as a single social unit, which provides mutual support and brotherhood. Mahal is an acronym for Mitnadvai Hootz Laaretz lit. oversees volunteers.

Garin Mahal (formerly Aish Machal) is the ultimate pre – military educational program for the IDF. The course is specifically designed to equip oversees volunteers with all of the tools necessary to succeed in the IDF. The six week program is located in the beautiful Nachlaot Neigborhood of Jerusalem. *At the end of the program participants are given the opportunity to volunteer for an optional *18 month service in the IDF.  The Garin Mahal Pre Military Program is a certified preparatory program for Mahal Volunteers recognized by the Ministry of Defence.

*The Ministry of Defence recently changed the length for all Mahal Volunteers to 18 months regardless of your Hebrew Level. (Except for Mahal Hesder which is a 21 month program which consists of a 16 month service and 5 months in Yeshiva).

*The volunteer service in the IDF is open to men ages 18 – 23 who have not resided in Israel for more than 18 months accumulatively and do not possess Israeli citizenship i.e. one of their parents are not citizens. For those that have Israeli citizenship they can still volunteer on condition that they have not been in Israel after the age of 10 for more than 4 consecutive months in one year. (For more information see faq)

In addition, 
Garin Mahal serves as an adopted family, helping to meet each individual's physical, emotional and spiritual needs during their period of active service. 

If you are thinking about volunteering in the IDF, or would like an IDF experience without joining the army, Garin Mahal is the program for you.                                                                                                              

The Garin Mahal program features: 

Bureaucracy Advocacy

All of the army's bureaucracy is handled swiftly and efficiently by Garin Mahal.

In addition to handling bureaucratic issues, Garin Mahal assists in arranging the best cellular phone plan, living accommodations and any other necessity for lone soldiers.

IDF-Style Boot Camp


Garin Mahal is modelled after IDF boot camp. It has drill sergeants, and it demands a high level of discipline. The experience of boot camp gives the Garin Mahal soldier an edge after he enlists in the army. Garin Mahal training is conducted in Hebrew. 








"Total Immersion" Hebrew Ulpan


One of the most important skills required by the IDF is Hebrew language comprehension. Garin Mahal has developed a progressive method of helping students quickly obtain the language skills that they need. Participants learn in an intensive Ulpan in the morning hours and, throughout the day, they are only addressed in Hebrew. Additionaly majority of their training and classes are in Hebrew. This system helps participants begin to internalize Hebrew and constantly apply the new vocabulary that they learn. After six weeks, with the proper effort, participants generally begin to feel that they are advancing at a lightning pace.

In order to enlist in the IDF, participants are required to take a Hebrew language test. Individuals who do not pass the test must attend an IDF Ulpan for  3.5 months before receiving a unit.


 Krav Maga (Full Contact)

Krav Maga

Garin Mahal provides the ultimate, fast-paced, full contact Krav Maga instruction. It includes upper body striking skills, kicks, blocks and submission holds.

The goal of the training is to prepare participants for live combat both one-on-one and against multiple opponents. During training, students spar "live" with full protective gear. 

The training is modeled after the system used in the elite IDF units of Duvdevan (undercover anti terror unit) and Yamam( the Israeli SWAT team). The instructors themselves are from elite units in the IDF. All Krav Maga classes are given in Hebrew.

Elite Israel Advocacy Training (Hasbara)

On today's college campuses, many Jewish students are finding themselves in the unenviable position of defending Israel's right to exist. In order to effectively fight this battle, they need to develop the tools to engage their peers in an intelligent, reasonable and assertive manner. 

Israel Advocacy training has proven to be what students need in order to stand their ground and advocate effectively for Israel's cause.  Combined with their boots-on-the-ground IDF service, Garin Mahal participants acquire for themselves a vital stake in the dialogue: They have been in Israel and served in one of the most effective, honorable fighting forces in the world, while their opponents cannot claim the same first-hand experience. All Israel Advocacy sessions are in English.

Gibush Preparatory Training

Gibush Preparatory Training

For anyone who aspires to serve in the IDF's Special Forces, Garin Mahal offers unique training options designed to prepare one for the IDF's infamous gibushim (tryouts). Training is run by instructors of the most elite forces in the IDF who prepare you step-by-step, physically and – more importantly – mentally. Two mock gibushim take place at the end of the training period.

In preparing themselves to pass these gibushim, participants realize an ability to surpass perceived limitations. The "confidence builders" they receive throughout the training enhance each participant's ability to succeed – not only in the army, but also in any path that is later pursued in life.  All gibushim training sessions are in Hebrew.


"It is almost impossible to imagine how the world would have fared had they [the Jewish People] never emerged." --British historian Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

Do you want a solid grasp of Jewish History? We will get you there.

What would the world be like without Judaism and the Jewish People? We will explore 4,000 years of world history from this unique perspective. Garin Mahal's fascinating history course will transform your understanding of Judaism and the mission of the Jews as a "light unto the nations."

The series is given by top lecturer and renowned historian Rabbi Ken Spiro (www.kenspiro.com). All classes are in English. 


What is Zionism? Are you a Zionist? Does Zionism equal racism? These and other questions are explored and discussed by some of Israel's most eminent teachers, including former Lechi fighter Ezra Yachin. All classes are in English.

Kosher Kravi: Combat Fitness


Kosher Kravi, lit. combat fitness, consists of rigorous physical and mental exercises (including the feared IDF obstacle course) that are designed to improve endurance and physical stamina. Kosher Kravi was developed by the IDF, and the training is conducted by certified former and current Kosher Kravi instructors in the IDF. All Kosher Kravi training classes are conducted in Hebrew. 

IDF Unit Familiarization

During the course of the Garin Mahal program, participants meet representatives from all units in the IDF, as well as current Mahal soldiers. 

Participants visit IDF bases and get a feel for their future lifestyle. In addition they are able to ask all of their questions and hear first-hand about different units in the IDF. Following these visits, participants are able to make an educated decision about their unit of choice.

Live Firearms Training

During the program participants will learn how to shoot an M4 and Israeli made Mini Tavor. The seminar will teach one how to shoot in standing, kneeling and laying positions. Practice of quick reloading and changing magazines, fire and movement techniques, to shoot on command. The course is conducted in Hebrew and English by members of the Israeli Counter Terrorism Unit Yamas.

Leadership Training

Garin Mahal focuses on creating future leaders of the Jewish People. In order to instill the drive towards leadership in our participants, we place an emphasis on putting them in contact with today's leaders. During the course of the program, participants meet an array of impressive, dedicated individuals who make an impression: Each of these leaders is taking responsibility and making a difference in the world.

In Garin Mahal, one will learn to recognize the traits of a leader and gain an understanding of what fuels leadership. Throughout the program, the question of why every individual needs to take responsibility for the world and how each person can make an impact is explored.

Personal Guidance

From the beginning of the program until release from the IDF, staff will provide personal guidance through each step of the process. Participants are assisted by professionals in the field who are available to help overcome any challenge or pitfall that may arise.

Lone Soldier Network

Volunteering in the IDF can, at times, be challenging. The advantage of enlisting as a garin means that one is "lone but not alone." In the Garin Mahal program, participants meet a group of diverse young men who have much in common. The bond that is formed among participants is priceless. During the army service participants often room together while on leave and remain in constant contact throughout their service.These connections help strengthen each of them, in more difficult times.

Participants on the program stress that the social component is the most beneficial irreplaceable aspect of the program. Volunteering with Garin Mahal grants one the network needed to cope with "lone soldier syndrome", which is often experienced by oversees volunteers.

In addition to the friendships that are made, the staff of Garin Mahal opens up their homes at all hours of the day, and are always available by phone.



The grand finale of the Garin Mahal program is an extreme 2 to 4 day survival excursion called the "crucible" During the Crucible, participants learn how to live off the land while operating under sleep and food deprivation. Participants are faced with physical and mentalchallenges that must be accomplished before advancing further Teamwork is stressed, as the majority of tasks are completely impossible without it; everybody must succeed or fail as a whole.

The trek is led by elite forces commanders of the IDF. The crucible is conducted in Hebrew.


During the Garin Mahal program, every Shabbat program is optional except for the"Mega Shabbat," in which all Garin Mahal participants and students of past programs attend. For those who need Shabbat arrangements, Garin Mahal offers to set students up with hosts all over Israel.

Medical Insurance

During the Garin Mahal program, students are insured medically by Egert & Cohen (Harel) insurance agents. While in the military, soldiers are covered entirely by the IDF.


At the end of the Garin Mahal program participants can volunteer in the IDF for an optional 18 month service. There are three different volunteer tracks one can choose: Regular Mahal, Mahal Hesder or Mahal Netzach Yehuda/Tomer. During the program students will be introduced to each track and be given the relevant information to decide which suites them best.


June 25, 2018