Investing in the Youth תמונה ראשית תוכן דףOne of the main misisons of the Defense and Society Department is to empower Israel's youth prior to, during, and post military service. The ministry strives to strengthen youth of all backgrounds, including youth at risk and young men and women with special needs, preparing them for military service (or national civil service), and integrating them into Israeli society post-service. To Give is to Receive:The voluntary national service program greatly contributes to Israel's hard-hit communities, with participants assisting distressed areas across the country. Over 2,200 annual volunteers take up a variety of causes across the country including caring for young olim hadashim (new immigrants) and at risk youth. The national service year program begins on September 1st. For further information, contact the Defense and Society Department by phone at 03-608-4506/7. Ofek Program- A Variety of Social Worlds"Ofek" is a youth program running parallel missions across Israel, with activities in various social sectors- religious, secular, new immigrants, rural youth- with an emphasis on communities from the geographical and social peripheries. Hundreds of young Israelis contribute to the program every year. Nahal: Integrating military service and social involvementThe Nahal program integrates military service with social involvement, combinging the efforts of youth movements, the IDF and the Ministry of Education. It enables Garin members to integrate their aspirations for community service, with their military ones. First, soldiers complete eighteen months of military service as instructors and counselors in the Nahal Brigade, including the 50th Battalion and the co-ed Caracal Battalion. The soldies then return to their communities to work for a year, giving back to their communities through education. Their work is of great importance both to the volunteers and the societies in which they serve. Activities include preparing youth for their draft into the IDF, educational activities in schools, empowering youth movements, activities with at-risk youth and the immigrant populations, summertime activities, and informal after-school activities.