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15 Volunteer Opportunities in Israel for Christians

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Most Christians who travel to Israel go to experience the land of the Bible—and they should. But there’s a unique way to experience Israel that 99% of visitors don’t get to do.

Volunteers at the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel.

(Picture: Volunteers at the excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel.)

Not long ago the Israel Ministry of Tourism asked me to identify some volunteer activities that Christians would enjoy. These range from activities any tour could do in a couple of hours to volunteer opportunities that last for months, depending on one’s availability, ability, or interest.

Obviously, you don’t have to be a Christian to participate in these volunteer opportunities in Israel, but here are 15 I think you would enjoy.

15 Volunteer Opportunities in Israel for Christians

Pantry Packers

A great opportunity for busy tourists, Pantry Packers gives groups the privilege of volunteering to pack meals for the needy in Israel. After a brief video and introduction, each group of volunteers enjoys helping in a clean, safe, and fun environment while packing meals with modern equipment.

A group photo tops off the event—all in only 90 minutes!

More info here.

Christian Friends of Israel

Countering centuries of anti-Semitism, Christian Friends of Israel shares God’s love by giving practical help to the Jewish people.

  • The Jerusalem-based center allows Christian volunteers both long- and short-term opportunities to help immigrants with clothing and items necessary for their new homes.
  • Other opportunities include administrative assistance, media support, and office accounting.

More info here.

Archaeological Digs in Israel

Archaeology is abundant in the land of the Bible. Opportunities for volunteers vary from helping for a few hours to living in Israel a few months.

  • Under the supervision of a trained archaeologist, volunteers dig, sift, carry dirt, clean pottery shards, and hear lectures on site—occasionally with delightful discoveries.
  • Accommodations and sites change seasonally; therefore it’s best to request information about current opportunities.

A great opportunity to excavate in biblical Ai is available through the Associates for Biblical Research.

2014 excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel

(Volunteers from 2014 excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, Israel. Courtesy of Associates for Biblical Research.)

Jerusalem Biblical Zoo

The primary focus of the largest zoo in Israel is to care for and sustain the rare species of animals mentioned in the Bible.

  • Volunteers gain valuable experience and work under the direction of experts, helping to preserve these species and, ideally, to return them to the wild.
  • Volunteer accommodations in Jerusalem allow for convenient exploration of the Holy City during free time.

More info here.

Desert Wildlife Program

The biblical Negev covers the southern half of Israel and is home to a program that purposes to preserve endangered wildlife native to the area. Volunteers begin with an orientation in Jerusalem. Then they travel to the Negev desert preserve where they assist the reserve staff with ongoing conservation work, animal care, and facility maintenance and construction.

More info here.

Desert Wildlife Program

(Photo: The Desert Wildlife Program in Israel)

Save a Child’s Heart

With the finest medical care and technology, this organization has helped to repair the hearts of more than 3000 children. Volunteers serve both the children and their parents, helping to relieve any stress during their experience and to offer encouragement in recovery.

From giving keepsake photographs, to sending follow-up emails, to offering simple smiles and hugs, volunteers play a part in saving many children’s lives.

More info here.

Volunteers for Peace (Israel)

An ideal opportunity for individuals, couples, and families, Volunteers for Peace uses community service as a means of humanitarian aid and intercultural education. An interactive Web site helps volunteers select from a wide variety of service projects that help meet Israel’s physical and local needs—working alongside others from all over the world.

More info here.

Yad Ezra V'Shulamit

(Image from Yad Ezra V’Shulamit)

Yad Ezra V’Shulamit

This organization has as its mission to fight hunger in Israel. To do so, it distributes about 40 tons of food every week!

  • Volunteers help pack 2500 food baskets weekly with vegetables, breads, and other foodstuffs.
  • Any number of volunteers can come—from a few individuals to large groups with advance notice—at select hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

More info here.

Leket Israel

Leket Israel serves as the country’s largest food bank, redistributing excess food to the needy. Volunteers have many opportunities to help, including gleaning fields, collecting and redistributing surplus meals, preparing sandwiches for school children, or serving in the logistics center or with deliveries.

Opportunities can be personalized to the needs and capabilities of the volunteer.

More info here.

IDF Base

Volunteers for the Israel Defense Force serve in non-combative roles on an IDF base and help Israel with its national defense. Testimonies share how volunteers enjoy serving.

  • During the week, volunteers pack supplies, repair machinery, build, clean, paint, and help with needed base upkeep.
  • Weekends are free for travel in Israel.
  • One to three week programs are available.

More info here.

Kibbutz Program Center

Numerous kibbutzim throughout Israel accept volunteers between the ages of 19 and 35. Living on a kibbutz is a great way to learn about Israel and meet people from all over the world. Opportunities to serve last from two to six months, and jobs include agriculture, kitchen and dining duties, gardening, factory work, and laundry.

More info here.

Magen David Adom Volunteers

The Israeli Ambulance Corps works with volunteers to provide first-aid services and efficient initial treatment to those in need. Following an eight-day training course on basic anatomy and emergency medical management, participants serve as ambulance volunteers across the nation who work alongside MDA staff for between six and eight weeks.

More info here.

Peres Center

The principal organization dedicated to promoting peace between Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians, the Peres Center allows volunteers to experience hands-on experience in meaningful non-profit work.

Participants are involved in a variety of significant projects, depending on one’s skills, needs, and availability.

More info here.

Lehavot: Volunteer Firefighters for Israel

This program allows young adults the opportunity to explore Israel, save lives, and serve in a significant way.

  • After a three-day training course, volunteers serve across the nation as volunteer firefighters for 40 hours per week.
  • The program promises to be an exciting and fulfilling experience as participants support the nation’s firefighters, Israel’s unsung heroes.

More info here.

Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

Volunteers stay on a farm and experience firsthand the agricultural life in the land of Israel.

  • Dozens of farms are available with a variety of opportunities, including cheese making, organic gardening, vineyards and wineries, animal husbandry, renewable energy, and more.
  • Volunteers can serve anywhere from one week to three months, and during harvest time they can even serve as little as a day.
  • An informative Web site offers a full description of this unique opportunity.

More info here.

Tell me what you think: What other volunteer opportunities in Israel can you recommend? To leave a comment, just click here.

You’ll find these volunteer opportunities in a book I wrote for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, 100 Off-The-Beaten-Path Sites. You can download a free copy.

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