Israeli ‘peace Corps’ Coordinator Finds Evidence of Idealistic Service

A program of voluntary service in Israel has demonstrated “a genuine idealistic trend within important groups of American students and young professionals who are in search of meaningful social experiences,” according to Dr. Aryeh Nesher, coordinator of Sherut La’am, an Israeli version of service abroad modeled on the American Peace Corps.

Dr. Nesher said at a conference here yesterday that a survey taken by the Bureau of Social Research of Columbia University showed that more than 70 percent of American volunteers who went to Israel during the past three years did so mainly to find self-fulfillment and to meet meaningful challenges. Out of 500 volunteers, over 60 percent had no previous organizational or ideological links with Israel, Dr. Nesher said, but after a year in Israel the proportion who felt there was a good chance of settling there permanently more than doubled. The idea behind Sherut La’am, Dr. Nesher said, was to bring young people to Israel not on the basis of ideological identification but on the desire to be helpful in solving vital social problems for humanitarian reasons.

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