There are two tracks to join the IDF:
Mahal - for non Israeli citizens or Israeli citizens that have not lived in Israel for more than 4 months after the age of 10. For more information regarding the qualifications see Faq. In order to begin the Mahal registration process you must be in Israel.
Aliyah - Becoming an Israeli Citizen.
Step 1: Interview with the Ministry of Defence (MOD)
You will need for the interview the following documents:
- Original Birth Certificate
- Valid Passport for at least 2 years from your desired draft date
- Confirmation letter stating that you are Jewish and your Mother is Jewish, signed by a rabbi residing outside of Israel. The confirmation must be written on official stationary with a detailed letterhead including the name of the Jewish community, address, phone, fax and e-mail. The exact name of the rabbi must be clearly readable. You will need to bring the original with you to Israel. Click here to see a sample letter.
*If you are an Israeli Citizen i.e. at least one of your parents has Israeli citizenship then you only need an Israeli Passport and the medical form. After the interview you will be finished and can proceed to step 4.
If you do not have an Israeli Passport you can obtain one in Israel within a few days at the Ministry of Interior. When you request a passport it is important to tell them that you do not want a tuedat zehut. If you recieve a tuedat zehut then you have made Aliya and are ineligible for Mahal. Please contact us if you need help receiving a Passport.
Step 2: Jewish Agency/Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Defence will submitt your papers to the Jewish Agency to receive approval. Once approved the Or from the MOD will contact you regarding a date to report to the Ministry of Interior to recieve your 2 year A2 Visa.
- Passport and photo copy of your passport
- Your approved Rabbi Letter from the Jewish Agency
- The new referral letter from the MOD for the Ministry of Interior
- 1 Passport photo
- your original birth certificate
Make sure that the visa you receive is valid until at least after the planned end date of your service. Also make sure that the visa you receive is a Mahal A2 visa (it should have Mahal written in Hebrew on it) Notice that the visa should take 2 pages on your passport, and not just 1 side. Send or present a copy of the A2 visa to the MOD in order for them to send in your papers to the IDF and by this finish the registration process and begin the process of enlistment.
Step 3: Tzav Rishon
Await your "Tzav Rishon" - once your papers have been sent in to the IDF, the enlistment unit "Meitav" will review and check your papers before approving them and opening your case with the IDF. This process can take usually from a week to a month. You need to have patience. When your papers have been approved you will receive a date to for your "Tzav Rishon" were you will take medical and psychological tests to determine which units you are fit for.
If you have any trouble please contact us at Garin Mahal for assistance.
1. You can begin the draft process once you receive a tuedat zehut. The IDF will not call you to the draft office until you have been here for a year. If you want to expedite the process then you need to go to the draft office and sign a statement claiming that you want to forgo the 1 year wait before your draft. At the draft office ask to speak to the Mashak Olim he/she is an individual appointed to assist all new citizens of Israel. You will receive a Tzav Rishon usually between a week to 2 weeks afterwards. If you need any help with the enlistment process please contact Garin Mahal.