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Volunteer in Israel

Volunteer in Israel and experience the 'Holy Land' from a completely different point of view...

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Volunteer work in Israel

Volunteer opportunities in Israel

Volunteering in Israel goes a long way. Would you like to spend your free time hanging at the beach or cooking up a Shabbat dinner with friends? Or maybe going on some of the best hikes in the Middle East? Volunteer in Israel and see what Israeli life is all about.

In Israel, volunteering is very popular as roughly 32 percent of the adults in Israel have worked as volunteers at some point. Due to this, there are many types of volunteer opportunities in Israel available. And in case you were wondering, knowledge of the Hebrew or Arabic language is not required.

Animal and wildlife conservation

As in many other countries, Israel has a problem with street dogs and cats. There are many animal shelters that are taking care of abandoned pets and that are in desperate need of volunteers. Most animal shelters would not be able to stay open without the help of volunteers as they are often dependent on donations by outside sources. In turn, your help as a volunteer animal shelter is very much appreciated. If you would like to do your part to make this world a more humane place for animals, then volunteering at an animal shelter is definitely the way to go. Your tasks as a volunteer in Israel at an animal shelter will be diverse and provide you with practical experience working with animals. As a volunteer in Israel, your tasks can include:

  • caring for animals
  • cleaning cages
  • assisting in rescue operations
  • distributing food
  • public relations
  • educational work

Biodiversity and its conservation

Israel's geographical range determines its impressive biological diversity, homing over 47,000 plant and animal species. The combination of pure-white sand beaches, towering mountains and arid desert make Israel a tantalizing destination for you to explore. Be this as it may, due to its limited space, high population growth and resource scarcity, Israel is highly susceptible to environmental crises. The 5 most important environmental challenges Israel is facing at the moment are the following:

  • water shortages
  • water pollution
  • waste production and disposal
  • air pollution
  • population density

Here is where volunteering will be appreciated to a great extent. As a volunteer in Israel, your voluntary work on environmental projects can help local people address these issues and protect some of Israel's most precious natural spaces.

Volunteer programs in Israel offer something for everybody! Among others, volunteering to protect the Coral Beach Nature Reserve is a great thing. The Coral Beach Reserve was one of the first nature reserves to be declared in Israel and offers a spectacular combination of coral; creating colorful underwater 'gardens' with butterfly fish, parrot fish, Julie fish, nocturnal fish and many other species, including sea lilies, giant shells and much more. It is one of the most densely populated' coral reefs in the world and the only one in Israel. As a volunteer in Israel, you can become an integral part of the staff that aims to protect this fragile coral reef from countless threats.

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Israel is between US$60 and US$95. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services you might need and things you might want to buy for one of the volunteer opportunities in Israel. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need for one of the volunteer programs in Israel.

Additional costs you should consider as a future volunteer in Israel:

An exemplary overview of living costs in Israel (in US$, for one person) is:

Things to know before you volunteer in Israel

When you travel to a different country for voluntary work it is important to familiarise yourself with its culture and social characteristics. This helps you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips that you might find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Israel.

Safety & Precautions

Israel is no different than any other travel destination that tourists frequent in that petty theft like pickpocketing and bag snatching is an ongoing concern. To stay safe, you should keep the following safety guidelines in mind at all times during your volunteer work in Israel:

  • Keep your personal belongings and important travel documents with you at all times. It also makes sense to bring attested photocopies of these documents, in case you lose them.
  • If you are going out, it does not make sense to take a lot of money with you, as well as jewelry or other fancy possessions. Take only the money you will need and leave everything else back home.
  • The security situation remains complex in Israel and can change quickly depending on recent events, and particular geographic location. Exercise caution and remain aware of your surroundings when traveling to areas where there are heightened tensions and security risks.

Culture & religion

Throughout the course of history, Israel has been the meeting point for cultures, civilizations and religions. Israel serves as the sacred center for many of the world's monotheistic religions which makes it a popular travel destination for millions to witness the historical religious architecture which is considered divine by many who visit.

Israel's culture is a mix of middle-eastern ethnic and religious traditions, with a bit of western influence thrown in. About 75% of the population is Jewish and 20% Arab. As the Israeli Jewish community has roots from all over the world you will find customs, foods, languages etc from all around the world. The national languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but English is also widely known.

Here are our top 5 tips to keep in mind as a volunteer in Israel:

  • Israelis are very hospitable and may take offense if you do not accept an invitation. When eating in someone's house, they will offer you more food then you can eat, so it is important to be grateful and compliment the chef without forcing yourself to overeat.
  • When dealing with the Muslim community in Israel, avoid showing the sole of your foot or using the foot to move or pass anything to someone. Avoid giving & receiving objects with your left hand as well.
  • Punctuality is valued for the most part and most services run on time.
  • Israelis favor direct eye contact over indirect. Maintaining eye contact is viewed as the sense of respect and interest in the person who is speaking.
  • Be aware that drugs are illegal in Israel. Possession can result in heavy fines, imprisonment, or deportation.

Health advice

Going abroad and volunteering at one of the opportunities always includes some issues and precautions that need to be taken into account, especially if you are traveling to a country with tropical temperatures and wilderness. The health risks will vary between individuals and many depend on your activities, your volunteer work in Israel, length of stay and general health.

  • Eat and drink safely: Don't eat undercooked food, avoid eating street food and don't drink water from the tap!
  • Also, wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • Plan for how you will get health care during your stay. Get a travel insurance and bring medicine with you, especially if you need special medication.
  • Prevent bug bites: You might want to cover exposed skin, use an insect repellent, and use a bed net.

Who can volunteer in Israel?

You might have noticed by now that there are many volunteer opportunities in Israel that require different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most volunteer programs in Israel:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer programs in Israel. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you're 16 years old.
  • Depending on the volunteer work in Israel you're interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

What visa do I need for volunteering in Israel?

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip as a volunteer in Israel: getting your volunteer visa for Israel.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That's why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your project coordinator on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the embassy or consulate of Israel in your country .

General entry information

There are some general requirements you should comply with upon your arrival at your volunteer work in Israel:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. Your passport should have at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Israel.
  • Make sure your passport has at least three double blank Visa pages. Israel requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket.

Best practice for short-term volunteers

Holders of passports of 99 countries do not require a visa for Israel for a maximum stay of 3 months. A tourist visa will be issued to you upon arrival. Among others, residents of Canada, the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand or the European Union, are able to work as a volunteer for up to 90 days with this type of visa. Please contact the embassy in your country to find out if this is the case for you.

Best practice for long-term volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer in Israel for more than 3 months you need to apply for a volunteer visa.

The volunteer organization of your choice will need to apply for this visa for you. Please contact your project coordinator to arrange the visa procedure.

For more information please consult the closest embassy or consulate of Israel in your country.