Who Are We?
The Israel Defense Forces Preparatory Academy in Bet-El was founded 11 years ago. Our mission is to strengthen and deepen Israeli youths' ties with their Jewish roots, while preparing them physically and emotionally for army service and adult life. There are currently more than 120 boys studying in the Academy's program.
The majority of our students come from nominally religious high-schools, and partially or minimally observant homes. Many of them come from a socially and economically deprived background, with little motivation for personal development or service to society.
In the Academy, the boys receive a comprehensive program of Jewish studies, high level physical training and endless hours of individual counseling by the Academy's staff. The classes are small, so as to allow for maximal attention to every student's needs.
The boys discover the beauty and grandeur of our traditions, and develop a lifelong commitment to Judaism. Many of them also continue to positions of command and elite combat units in the army.
When the students finish their army service, many return to the Academy for one more year of preparation for life and marriage. During this year, they enrich their Jewish knowledge and strengthen their commitment to building a home based on Jewish values.
The Academy is headed by Rabbi Avi Zarbiv, who served in the elite Givati commando unit. Rabbi Zarbiv is ordained as a Rabbi and Dayan from Israel's Chief Rabbanite. In the 2002 Gavish family terrorist attack, Rabbi Zarbiv was the first to respond and enter the home to face the terorrist.
The educational staff consists of nine teachers and Rabbis, and three counselors. The staff of the Academy, both educational and administrative, is entirely devoted to the students' personal development and strong Jewish identity.
The boys' relationships with the rabbis continue beyond the confines of the Academy and army service, so they always have a Rabbi to consult about life's dilemmas and challenges.
The IDF Preparatory Academy is part of Bet El Institutions under the guidance of Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Chief Rabbi of Bet El and Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Bet El.
“I realize how different the twelfth-grader who reached here two years ago is from the mature person I am today…
All that interested me was the next party or outing with the guys…
From my rabbis here, I drew the faith that enabled me to change and grow into a better and more moral person.”
“I came to the Academy from the ‘field’ of parties, night clubs, alcohol, girls… In the Academy I reached the conclusion that my life until now had been aimless.
Because of the warm and caring attitude of the staff here… my life has changed.”
All the students of the Academy – even the “failures” who discontinue the program for one reason or another – leave it more mature, and more committed to Judaism than when they arrived.