The Netzah Yehuda NPO (also known as the Nahal Haredi) was established in 1999 by a group of haredi rabbis, working with the Security-Social division at the Ministry of Defense and the IDF to provide a solution for haredi youths who have not found their place in a full time Yeshiva learning program.
This cooperation resulted in the establishment of the 97th Battalion (“Netzah Yehuda”) of the Kfir Brigade. Additional tracks were later added that provided solutions for a broader range of young haredi men, including those unsuited to combat positions. Currently thousands of haredi soldiers serve in these different tracks, all characterized by an adherence to principles and restrictions that enable haredi men to serve in meaningful positions in the IDF, without compromising their haredi lifestyle.
Alongside thousands of young men learning Torah in haredi yeshivas from morning till night, thousands of young haredi men in the State of Israel currently do not learn in yeshiva. These young men are the target population for which our organization was founded, and the purpose for its continued existence. Netzach Yehuda has made its mission to serve as a solid bridge between the haredi community and Israeli society as a whole, to support haredi soldiers both spiritually and materially, and to improve their ties to their families and the haredi community.
The Netzach Yehuda NPO supports haredi soldiers throughout their military service, up to and including their discharge and integration into civilian life, in order to help them grow through their military service and emerge as employed haredi Jews with a deep sense of connection to Torah and mitzvoth.
The Netzach Yehuda NPO is a rabbinical civilian entity that views military service as a bond that can bind together various sectors of the haredi community with the entire nation.
The Organization will serve as a representative for the haredi public vis-a-vis military, government and public entities, and as an authoritative advisor to guide and assist these entities in all matters pertaining to haredi service in the IDF.
The Organization will help any soldier who wishes to maintain a haredi lifestyle while serving in the military in one of the various “Netzach” programs, while helping him turn his military service into a springboard for personal development and growth in Torah.
The Organization will guide haredi military alumni in a variety of fields in order to help them become part of a community after being discharged from the IDF.
The Organization will work to clearly define a respectable identity for the G_d-fearing Jew who can navigate the job market while remaining connected at his core to the world of Torah that has been passed down for generations.
The target population comprises 18-20-year-old haredi youths from haredi backgrounds (haredi families, haredi educational institutions) who do not learn in yeshivot.
Success is measured by the soldier’s spiritual and Torah level being higher upon discharge than when beginning his military service. This is in addition to the inherent benefit of military service to a soldier’s sense of personal growth and responsibility.
The Netzach Yehuda NPO encompasses four parts, each corresponding to the need it addresses:
- Soldier Support Program: comprising four rabbis, four educational advisors and about ten avreichim
- Alumni Program: comprising the Alumni Center and an employment coordinator
- Youth Program: comprising the Youth Center
- Lone Soldiers’ Home Program: comprising a dorm manager who oversees the apartments for lone soldiers
Netzach Program Structure
The Netzach program involves three years of military service. For the first two years, the soldier serves in one of the units with an integrated Netzach program, to which he is assigned based on his physical fitness, abilities and character traits. The third year is known as the Task Stage, during which soldiers study in one of the available programs suitable for the haredi public: matriculation completion, pre-academic preparatory program, practical engineer preparatory program, or vocational education.
What is the Netzach Yehuda Battalion?
Netzach Yehuda is the name of a number of IDF recruitment routes intended for the ultra-Orthodox. The most prominent route is service in the Netzach Yehuda Battalion, 97th Battalion, which belongs to the Kfir Brigade of the Infantry. The name “Netzach Yehuda” is an acronym for “Haredi Military Youth”, and Yehuda is named after the battalion’s founder, Yehuda Duvdevani.
Netzach Yehuda is a combat battalion in the 99th Division – the IDF’s multi – scene fire division. The battalion has received many honors and praise from its commanders throughout the years.
If I do not have a matriculation and studied in a yeshiva, am I eligible for a year of education?
The education year was designed to address those who did not achieve a high school diploma before military service. When the soldier reaches the third year of service, he completes his matriculation / preparatory studies, so that when he is released, the soldier is ready for civilian life like the rest of his peers in the State of Israel.
I want to enlist in the army, but am afraid of falling in my Yiddishkeit, what to do?
In ultra-Orthodox tracks in the IDF, there is full adjustment to the needs of the ultra-Orthodox soldier, such as gender, Sabbath observance, strict observance of prayers and school hours, and unique accompaniment of rabbis and consultants of the Netzah Yehuda Association.
The army does not want to change the lifestyle of the ultra-Orthodox soldier, but to enable the preservation of values while serving and contributing to the people of Israel, and therefore all options can be used to preserve the spirit and values.
In addition, it is possible to go to preparatory frameworks for the IDF (the “Betzavta” hesder yeshiva and the “Netzah David” preparatory school) that offer value-based and mental preparation for the challenging military service.