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  #1  
Old 03-08-2008, 12:03 AM
joejd12 joejd12 is offline
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Default whats the maximum age to enlist into....

im currently living in canada, but im going to enlist into the idf after university, do you think its possible for me to join a special forces unit after having gone to university (being around 22 years old and all after i finish it..)? and what do you think is the maximum PRACTICAL age to join israeli special forces?

p.s.- im looking to join a special forces unit that doesnt have anything to do with hostage rescue (i dont want to take the chance of shooting hostages, especially if theyre israeli or jewish) i know maglan is close to that description but are there any other units that you know of that dont involve hostage rescue?

and does the idf require that you serve for more than 3 years because of the long training period needed?

Last edited by joejd12; 03-08-2008 at 04:38 AM..
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2008, 03:00 PM
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rafi rafi is offline
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There are currently two paths into the IDF for those who are not Israeli citizens.

Under the MAHAL program, under certain criteria that you can easily explore at other web sites, foreign born jews may serve in the IDF if they start their first day of duty prior to their 23 birthday. Explicit requirements and a chahce to ask questions can be found there. Less than .0001% of those in MAHAL get into "Special Forces".

The only other option for foreign born jews is to make aliyah, become an Israeli citizen and then serve as a requirement of your citizenship under what is called the Israeli Law of Return. Again, very specific requirements are layed out, and questions about this can also be posted at the aforementioned web site.

As to the reality of someone in your situation actually fulfilling the dream you have, I am sorry to say that this is most likely unrealistic. Tests to get into these units fall into three major catagories. First is the strictly physical testing, which I cannot comment on, as I simply don't know you and what you are capable of. But keep in mind that competition for these slots is tremendous, and Israelis begin training for these tests at a very early age, usually under he tutelalege of a family member or close friend who served in that unit before them.

Next is the very real hurdle of psychological problem solviing exams, These test, like all exams of their nature have an Israeli cultural bias that is very focused on group problem solving abilities and interactions - in hebrew. Obviously this means not only fluency in hebrew, but also in the cultural nuances of specific hebrew words. A great example for our Brit friends might be the word "knackered". Not only does it mean tired, but it might mean a very specific type of tired, based on whether you are from Northern England or Southern England, the age of the people you are with and their level of education.

Lastly of course is your age, your reasons for making this decision and the results you will receive from the army's mandatory psychological interview process you will undergo as a foreigner wishing to serve in the IDF and of course in a special forces unit.

All that being said, do foreigners still have the ability to get in today? Yes they do, but the success rate is somewhere less than one in one thousand - at best. If you were, in fact, the captain of your football team (soccer, ok?), Valedictorian at school and are now on Deans List in University, while taking hebrew lessons for the past three years, you might find it quite easy.

I'd be happy to answer any forther questions on the subject.

Rafi

PS. I didn't even begin to discuss the issue of extended service, dual citizenship and the result those isues, because how much can you listen to me at once.....

If you are interested in serving Israel, the pride is in wearing the uniform, not just what you do while wearing it.
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Old 03-08-2008, 08:14 PM
joejd12 joejd12 is offline
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thank you for answering rafi....

but first of all i forgot to include that i was born in israel, im fluent in hebrew and i only moved to canada when i was 10 (right now im 16).... most of my family lives in israel.... as to my state of mind for the pshycological test it doesnt worry me that much, but i would be interested in knowing what i should prepare for, so if you know of anyone, or any website, where i can ask about the physical requirements (preferably someone who has gone through it) could you please post a link or someway for me to contact him?

i recognize the fact that it doesnt matter where you serve as long as you do, but for me, its always been either the air force (i realize its extremely hard to get in, my cousin got all the way to the end and failed), a frontline unit like givati or golani, and now that ive studied their roles in combat im also looking to the special forces units....

i was just interested in knowing whether or not they would even accept me into a special forces unit if i started out when i was 22... and it woujldnt be the end of the world for me if i didnt get into a special forces unit, but i would rather try to get into a special forces unit and then go into a unit like golanii/givati if i dont make it....

p.s.- include as much detail as you can please, when it comes to things such as this i can listen for quite a while....

Last edited by joejd12; 03-08-2008 at 08:49 PM..
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  #4  
Old 03-08-2008, 11:34 PM
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Please feel free to send me a private message. As a foreign residing child of Israeli natives there are special classifications of service available to you. The fact that you are currently 16, and not the 22 that seemed to be implied in your first post changes allot. Obviously, while trying to be supportive, your chances of going SF starting at age 22 are close to nil. But that doesn't mean that a 16 year old hebrew speaking foreigner is going to be a stroll in the park either.

A legitimate question of yours was who I am shooting these answers back at you. I am the moderator for the official website for getting into Tsahal for those located outside of Israel. I simply couldn't list the url due to low post count restrictions on this board. While we are not an official branch of the IDF or the Israeli government, we are their official conduit of information. International law prohibits Israel from recruiting or seeking out those wishing to serve, so this job falls to qualified expatriots scattered throughout the world. Our ranks include a surgeon from Germany, a recent MAHAL alumni from Boston, a Handasa Kravi vet from the UK and of course myself, a Yom Kippur vet from the Northeast. Our senior most member is a Sgan Aluf from NYC currently living in the north of Israel. So you can rest assured between the group of us we have the contacts and resources to offer practical advice that is as accurate as anything coming out of the IDF can be.

Born in the US, I was IAF for a total of seven years, rank of Seren. I am still on active reserve duty and spend my summers in a special miluim unit for retired officers in the Shtachim.

Point being I do have very specific answers available for people such as yourself, and have legitimate contacts to help you along the way.

Last edited by rafi; 03-09-2008 at 04:13 AM..
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  #5  
Old 03-09-2008, 03:00 AM
BrittleSteel BrittleSteel is offline
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Hi joejd12,

I did the Machal program and served in the IDF when I was 21 and my Hebrew was prteyy simple at the time (i.e. bad) but I served in a regular combat unit (Tanks). I cannot give you a full reponse right now, but if you have questions, PM me and I'll be glad to help.
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:38 AM
joejd12 joejd12 is offline
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sorry rafi, i re-read my first post and i did make it seem like im 22... plus im 15 (it was a typo that i missed when i edited it, i didnt have that much time to write the thread) and thank you for replying brittlesteel, if i ever have any questions (and im pretty sure i will, ill be sure to ask you)...
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:03 AM
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Rafi,

Can U.S. Non Jewish persons enlist? Like former US military? I heard from a buddy of mine that you can volunteer as a combat medic and help out taking care of the grunts on the front lines? Any truth to this? Thanks!
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grunt82abn View Post
Rafi,

Can U.S. Non Jewish persons enlist? Like former US military? I heard from a buddy of mine that you can volunteer as a combat medic and help out taking care of the grunts on the front lines? Any truth to this? Thanks!
100% false. Forgive the bluntness. I have heardthis rumor as well, there is nothing to it. The phrase I use more and more is as follows:

Service in the IDF for the foreign born is predicated on the applicants ability to receive citizenship, if applied for, under the Law of Return. This doesn't mean you must request citizenship, but it means you would need to be able to document your eligibilty.

Forgive me for digressing, but means, you could not move there for a while and go in, this means you could could not get a non-orthodox conversion and go in and so on.

I mentioned in a previous post the group Sar-El. You work as a volunteer, on an active base, doing well, menial tasks that need to be done, wear a uniform with special insignias identifying who you are, but under no conditions are you issued any offensive equipment.
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:10 PM
lorro07 lorro07 is offline
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What is the max age to enlist for Mahal? Have any exceptions been made if a person were to be over the age limit?
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lorro07 View Post
What is the max age to enlist for Mahal? Have any exceptions been made if a person were to be over the age limit?
Your first day of reporting for duty must be before your 23rd Birthday. In otherwords, you cannot start the army on your 23 Birthday or later for men, the similar circumstances for women at age 21.

At one time there were exceptions, however at present there are no longer any exemptions from this ruling.

For further information on MAHAL, you can visit:
http://www.mahal-idf-volunteers.org/

At this site you can click on a link that takes you to the official IDF response letter to those seeking to enlist above the eligible age. The letter is printed in english.
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Old 04-08-2008, 01:23 AM
BrittleSteel BrittleSteel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafi View Post
Your first day of reporting for duty must be before your 23rd Birthday. In otherwords, you cannot start the army on your 23 Birthday or later for men, the similar circumstances for women at age 21.

At one time there were exceptions, however at present there are no longer any exemptions from this ruling.

For further information on MAHAL, you can visit:
http://www.mahal-idf-volunteers.org/

At this site you can click on a link that takes you to the official IDF response letter to those seeking to enlist above the eligible age. The letter is printed in english.
Rafi, I'm afraid I must disagree. Though the norm for Machal is no older than 23, I served in Machal with a guy who was 26. And no he wasn't a hulking 6'1" specimen.

So it is possible though probably more difficult to get in.
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Old 04-08-2008, 03:50 AM
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Yes, there used to be 25 and 26 year olds regularly in MAHAL.

October 30, 2007 - the date the age requirement was changed for MAHAL eligibility to commence for men prior to their 23rd Birthday.
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Old 04-08-2008, 04:07 AM
BrittleSteel BrittleSteel is offline
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Really? Ok, then i take it back.

Though if someone really really really wants to get in after 23, I believe they do have a small chance if they make ALOT of noise (and have luck) - but Israeli Army Bureaucracy can sometimes be stronger then its armed forces (i just made the phrase up -kinda catchy).
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:54 PM
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I have a similar question, Rafi I`m a guer (a converted) and probably next year I`ll do Aliya, for that time I`ll be 27. as you said Rafi, one of the requirements for Israeli citizenship according to the law of return is to serve in the IDF, so I would like to know what kind of service I`ll do (personally I would like to be in the permanent force, not the reserve), and other thing, there is any particularity for those olim who are currently or have served in ther born-countrys?

Thanks in advanced for the answer.
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Old 07-18-2008, 11:07 PM
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All things being equal, and your conversion is valid in the eyes of the Israeli government (PLEASE contact me via PM and not forum if you are not sure, I don't want to start that all over again), you would most likely serve, at your age, for a maximum of 6 months. This would be to prepare you to join a reserve unit. As you might expect, with a 6 month window, you will not be trained for any specialty, but most likely as infantry.

Not knowing your specialty, and it's degree of desirability within the IDF, my guess is you will be respected for previous service, but not much more. If you have a technical specialty, and the IDF is interested in it, you might be able to negotiate a longer term of service.

Only experience like yours I know of from first person was an ex-SEAL who converted and made aliyah at age 25 or 26. He was in my unit. Frankly, we never gave him anything that would have required a security clearance of any kind. But this is one case. YMMV as they say. A great starting point for these questions would be the consulate, after you declare your intent to make aliyah. Do not be surprised nor disapointed if you do not get in to speak to him though.
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Old 11-16-2008, 04:39 AM
joejd12 joejd12 is offline
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Ive just been meaning to ask one more question for a while and never re,e,bered to actually do it, so i thought i would ask it now...

I'm not too sure if this was said on this forum or on mahal, but whenever the prospect of special forces selection comes up, you and a handful of other responders repeatedly mention the fact that it's much more important to have the right mentality and social skills than to be in absolute crazy shape (though i assume it cant hurt to have that to ), so i was just wondering, what do those skills include? Do you have to be extremely open and a good conversationist or is enough if you dont start trouble and generally get along with everyone?

"PS. I didn't even begin to discuss the issue of extended service, dual citizenship and the result those isues, because how much can you listen to me at once....."

and please dont worry about writing too much, i appreciate every bit of information i can get...


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Old 11-18-2008, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joejd12 View Post
Ive just been meaning to ask one more question for a while and never re,e,bered to actually do it, so i thought i would ask it now...

I'm not too sure if this was said on this forum or on mahal, but whenever the prospect of special forces selection comes up, you and a handful of other responders repeatedly mention the fact that it's much more important to have the right mentality and social skills than to be in absolute crazy shape (though i assume it cant hurt to have that to ), so i was just wondering, what do those skills include? Do you have to be extremely open and a good conversationist or is enough if you dont start trouble and generally get along with everyone?

"PS. I didn't even begin to discuss the issue of extended service, dual citizenship and the result those isues, because how much can you listen to me at once....."

and please dont worry about writing too much, i appreciate every bit of information i can get...
Ok, let's make the assumption you are eligible to serve on the IDF for the sake of this answer.

First, all SF units are by selection. You either are flagged to get in, or you need to try out. To get flagged today, you pretty much need to be a superstar in a place the IDF can see you, namely an Israeli school, and more often than not need an advocate. I was a selectee, but that was 35 years ago when I was in an Ivy League college, had specific skills that were needed, worked in the Jewish Agency and had exceptional eyesight. (I guess many would say the standards have obviously gone up). So when I speak of it, it is first hand and I have been on both sides of the process.

Second. You need to fluent in hebrew. Enough to be in a leadership role, even though the initial tryout is for "grunts", you are there to lead. And as I have mentioned in the past, good enough to understand group dynamics from an Israeli perspective. Arabs (Israeli ones, of course) are different than Americans in the way they joke, bond and support each other. Also, it is almost a 100% certainty that growing up in Israel they know someone who not only was in the military, they most likely know someone who died, someone who was a base commander and someone who their father served with who killed 87 arabs with a can opener in '67. So their approach to all this is different. As to the girls - well just be careful, and don't step on your tongue, and I mean that not only from a drooling persective but watch out what comes out of your mouth.

When selections are made, the guy who came in second because he helped someone who was struggling is the winner. In Special Forces you train to go into combat. And people get hurt in combat. Who will step forward when a leader is needed, who will take the extra sack when the group is exhausted, who will be the model without being the suck-up. Tough line to learn. Become a specialist in a skill or the authority on a technology in the unit you are trying to get into. If you are the one person that people line for, because you arethe only one who can get the radio working, well of course they are going to pick you - they need you. You get the idea.

You don't have to take crap from anyone, but it doesn't hurt to take a little. Don't start a fight, the guy you are fighting with may have 23 classmates or cousins in the unit.

Make sure you have shoe shine gear, extra rubber bands, etc. I still am the go-to guy for all sorts of gear that guys forget. They remember that.

I hope that has given you some ideas to ponder. Feel free to return with some other questions.

Last edited by rafi; 11-18-2008 at 01:00 PM..
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:33 AM
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I joined the israeli border police at the age of 20. It was the most intense extreme expirence of my life and i was not in any special forces unit. I worked with many special units in the police knocking down doors in the middle of the night in some vilage on the border of the west bank, worked with car theft units, agraculural units, and became a sniper on top of it.

I work with alot of retired us military guys and none of them have had the training i got, unless they were special forces or had police swat training.

What im trying to say is setting a goal to be special forces is admirable but its very very hard just trying to get exepted to try out for it.

What i sudgest is if you go my rought make it through bootcamp and prove yourself at your duty statio and get sent to special schools , sniper school,atv recon unit, agricultural unit, undercover drug unit, and YAMAS look them up these guys dress up like arabs and operate among the onpar with any special ops unit in the country.

You do this my friend and youll get oodles of expirence oh and dont worry about about physical training they will do that for you in bootcamp unless you want special forces in witch case you need to start training right now and never stop.

Good luck with everything brother.
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Old 01-01-2009, 06:06 PM
joejd12 joejd12 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barak View Post
I joined the israeli border police at the age of 20. It was the most intense extreme expirence of my life and i was not in any special forces unit. I worked with many special units in the police knocking down doors in the middle of the night in some vilage on the border of the west bank, worked with car theft units, agraculural units, and became a sniper on top of it.

I work with alot of retired us military guys and none of them have had the training i got, unless they were special forces or had police swat training.

What im trying to say is setting a goal to be special forces is admirable but its very very hard just trying to get exepted to try out for it.

What i sudgest is if you go my rought make it through bootcamp and prove yourself at your duty statio and get sent to special schools , sniper school,atv recon unit, agricultural unit, undercover drug unit, and YAMAS look them up these guys dress up like arabs and operate among the onpar with any special ops unit in the country.

You do this my friend and youll get oodles of expirence oh and dont worry about about physical training they will do that for you in bootcamp unless you want special forces in witch case you need to start training right now and never stop.

Good luck with everything brother.
thanks for all the help...

and i have one last (hopefully, cant promise anything ) question...

what do you guys think would be a good point to be in regarding pushups, crunches and run times before the gibush?

i read in the official tzahal website (http://www.aka.idf.il/giyus/general/...83&DocID=26200) that for special forces 70 situps in a minute and 2km in 8.5 minutes is good, but i have trouble believing that most recruits are at the "good" level (id guess theyre at a higher level).

so my question is, what point should i be at before the gibush/yom sayarot/tironut? and are you guys aware of any training regiment that can help me get there? because what they have on the tzhal website is very rudimentary...

once again, thanks for all the help...
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Old 01-02-2009, 01:10 AM
barak barak is offline
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as far as training for the gibush ive seen what they do for yamam israeli swat. Its three days of hell. Theyll test you endurance more then anything. stuff like three people carrying a wooden telephone poll on their shoulders for miles up hill. Thell make you fight peolpe one than two than three at a time to see when you break. If you want to pass the first five hours youll need to be in the best shape of your life both physicaly and mentaly.

Ive seen yamam members do as many pull ups as they wanted without breaking a sweat, and do hill navigation with a 70 pound radio strapped to their back running the whole time.

Their job is

1. Kill terrorists
2. Train to kill terrorists
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