“In the summer of 1982, in the midst of the Galilee War, Golan Heights settlements faced the disastrous prospect of losing their entire agricultural crop. The majority of able-bodied settlers were called up for army reserve duty and entire farms, with crops already ripened, were left unattended, due to the acute manpower shortage. Dr. Aharon Davidi (z”l ), the former head of the I.D.F. Paratroopers and Infantry Corps, was then directing the Golan Heights community and cultural activities. Touched by the settlers’ distress, he sent a number of friends as a recruitment team to the United States. Within a few weeks, some 650 volunteers arrived in Israel to lend their support through volunteer labor. Realizing the merits of that action, those first volunteers expressed the wish that the volunteer project be continued forward as an ongoing volunteer organization.
As a result, in the Spring of 1983, “Sar-El” – The National Project for Volunteers for Israel – was founded as a non-profit, non-political organization (“Sar-El” is the Hebrew acronym meaning “Service for Israel”).
Over the years, volunteers from other countries came to partake in the project, and to date, Sar-El is represented in over 30 countries worldwide.
Since its inception and up through the end of 2010, the Sar-El volunteer project has brought in over 160,000volunteers of which many have since made “Aliyah” and have become Israeli citizens. For these achievements, “Sar-El” was awarded the Chairman of the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Award.
In 1990, “Sar-El” initiated a rehabilitation project for disabled veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces through the Ministry of Defense.
The scope of the project shows constant growth, with increasing numbers of disabled veterans serving on military bases as “Sar-El” volunteers.
“Sar-El”‘s chairman and founder, Dr.Aharon Davidi (z”l), was one of three prize-winners awarded the annual Moskowitz Prize for Zionism in 2010. Since 2012, General Zvi Shur has lead Sar-El as the chairman and continues the organization’s contributions to the welfare of Israel.