During the Lebanon War in 1982 settlements in the Golan Heights risked losing their harvest as almost all able-bodied settlers had been called up for reserve duty in the military. Brigadier (retired) Dr. Aharon Davidi, a former head of the IDF Paratroopers and Infantry Corps, sent a number of friends as a recruitment team to the United States, where they recruited around 650 volunteers for service in Israel. The program was deemed so successful that in 1983 Sar-El was founded as a non-profit, non-political organization. Sar-El is represented in 30 countries world-wide; its greatest number of volunteers have come from Volunteers for Israel in the U.S.A. and Volontariat Civil in France.
"Upon arriving in Israel, volunteers are transported to an army facility where they are assigned to work on army bases. Work activities can range from kitchen duties to simple mechanical repairs. Volunteers work alongside or under the direction of soldiers and perform duties such as packing food rations or medical kits, cleaning tanks, painting helmets, radio repairs, gas mask refurbishment, changing spare parts, gardening, or cleaning. Volunteers live on the army bases in barracks during the week and are free on weekends for touring Israel. The volunteer period is usually three weeks long. The volunteer works 8 hours per day, 5 days per week, Sunday through Thursday (the Israeli work week), and occasionally Friday morning depending on workload. In the evenings, there are various activities and educational presentations on such topics as the Hebrew language, Israel's history, Jewish holidays and traditions, and social and political issues in Israel. In addition, Sar-El hosts two sight-seeing trips which usually include Jerusalem. A liaison or guide (madricha) who is fluent in the volunteer group's language always accompanies the volunteers, and typically lives with the volunteers on the premises."
- Sar-El.org The National Project for Volunteers for Israel. Accessed July 4, 2007
- Sar-El Volunteers For Israel Accessed July 4, 2007
- Sar-El.org Official home page