Shomer Israel was created to support young professional Olim that have shown a commitment to the Jewish People in the Land of Israel, through social action and leadership. The goal of the project is to encourage pro-active Zionism through education and volunteerism, building up both the state & society of Israel to become the Nation that we hope for. We wish to create a movement that connects young Jews to their Identity, Land, and People, while strengthening mutual civic responsibility.
When Jews lose the feeling that they are all part of the same incredible national story,
they lose the feeling of responsibility towards one another.
About the Shomer Israel Fellowship: Education, Social Action, & Impact
The Shomer Israel Fellowship selects forty exceptional young professionals annually that are living in Israel as participants in its prestigious educational and social action program. Fellows receive scholarships to participate in high-level exclusive lectures and workshops on Zionism, Judaism & the Middle East, in English, by some of the top experts and educational talents in Israel.
Fellows will come together bi-monthly in Tel Aviv for in depth learning and meaningful conversations about the love of the Land of Israel, and the most important issues of our shared Jewish past, present & future. Our lectures will be injected with the notion that the Jewish People are rich with beauty, truth and power. We hope to inspire our fellows to have a love, curiosity and fascination with our most basic of spiritual and practical gifts. This is the story of our Nation, from Genesis to the chapters of the modern Zionist movement; Moshe Rabenu to Moshe Dayan; Rambam to Achad Ha’am.
The social action component of the Shomer Israel Fellowship happens once a month. Our selected Fellows will be transported as a community from Tel Aviv to areas in the periphery of Israel, in the North and South, that are in critical need of protection. Our Shomer Israel Fellows will have the honor of literally protecting the Land of Israel, alongside young Sabra Israeli peers, helping farmers and ranchers in the Negev and Galil deal with the threat of illegal seizure of their property. Thousands of acres, worth millions of dollars, have been lost or abandoned in the Negev and Galil over the past ten years to criminal elements. Like the original Guardsmen who protected remote Jewish settlements 100 years ago, our Shomer Israel Fellows will work to ensure a stronger Negev and Galil and uphold the Zionist ideals on which the State of Israel was founded.
For young Jews, being an active contributing part of this call to action, literally resting on the shoulders of men like Jabotinsky & Ben-Gurion, must be seen as more than an historical responsibility, it must be seen as an honor, as a noble privilege. We are our brother’s keepers.
With insufficient manpower, local law enforcement is not equipped to deal with the problem of criminals in the periphery of Israel who steal land and cattle, infiltrate Kibbutzim and intimidate farmers off of their property. The police cannot patrol the vast open lands and prevent the spread of fire, theft, physical violence and slaughtering of herds. Young Zionists taking on this mutual responsibility are filling an essential need by creating a presence on the ground, thus discouraging the raiders. The presence of young Guardsmen has been instrumental in preventing further theft and arson and in strengthening the resolve of the farmers and ranchers. Over the past five years, the number of observation posts has grown from one to 25. More and more farmers are asking for desperate assistance.
The Fellows will undergo intensive training to learn how to patrol the Land from strategic observation points. Each month, our Shomer Israel private chartered bus will leave Tel Aviv in the evening and take all of our group to a different kibbutz/moshav/yishuv for pro-active guarding, and an all night limmud while sitting under the stars, around the bonfire, eating, discussing, connecting, with other young Guardsmen from around Israel. Each bonfire observation point is supervised by a former IDF officer, and works in conjunction with local law enforcement, army officials, and local municipal councils. Volunteers patrol by car and on foot in groups of two and three. They are not equipped with weapons beyond night goggles, flashlights, walkie-talkies, and alarms. This is more than protecting the Land of Israel, it is about creating a movement where young people are committed to strengthening the values and traditions of the Jewish People for generations to come.
Protecting this amount of land would place approximately 30% of all at-risk land in the Negev and Galil under the protection of the young new Guardsman movement which today includes thousands of dedicated volunteers. By focusing on the most strategic at-risk lands and corridors in each area, we believe that we can turn the tide of land abandonment in Negev and Galil.
Yoel Zilberman – HaShomer HaChadash
Liron Rotem – Ariel Israel Foundation