Photo Credit: OU
Jewish volunteers picking citrus fruit in wartime Israel.

Since the start of Operation Iron Swords, there has been an influx of Jews from North America coming to volunteer. OU Israel provides opportunities for them to help the hundreds of farmers who need assistance following the departure of thousands of foreign workers

Since the start of the war, there has been an influx of Jewish volunteers coming to Israel from North America with the goal of strengthening the national spirit and helping Israel as much as possible.


One of the main initiatives has been through OU Israel, part of the global Orthodox Union organization. OU Israel has been sending on average fifty volunteers a week, both those from Israel and those from abroad, on buses to go to different areas to help with various needs in Israel.

These hundreds of volunteers and tourists have been joined by English-speaking immigrants, both new and veteran olim, from teenagers to senior citizens who want to help in any way possible. Many were inspired by those who have come from North America and felt the need to join those groups and take part in the war effort.

The volunteers go to kibbutzim and moshavim to work on the farms to fill the lack of workers as a result of the mass departure of workers who came from Thailand, the Philippines, and other countries in the Far East.

Jewish volunteers picking fruit in wartime Israel.

In addition, these volunteers have come to dozens of hotels in Jerusalem and helped to provide activities for the thousands of citizens who were evacuated from both north and south. OU Israel provides transportation and logistics for these volunteer opportunities.

“We cannot thank the OU enough for this opportunity. I am ecstatic to be here in Eretz Yisrael walking the land being with Klal Yisrael. It is such an incredible privilege,” expressed volunteer Adina Muehglay, from Passaic, NJ, who volunteered picking citrus fruits together with her son in the Hod Hasharon area.

“I think for Americans right now it is extremely, extremely difficult to be so far away. It’s actually a comfort to me to be here with Klal Yisrael during such a difficult time. It’s such a privilege to be able to pick Hashem’s beautiful trees and help Israelis in any way we can.”

Peri Garfinkel, a resident of Jerusalem, volunteered picking fruit with her granddaughter. “I made Aliyah two and a half years ago to Yerushalayim. We are so happy to be helping in the war effort and picking oranges. I hear that they really need us so I feel very good about it.”

OU Israel Executive Director Rabbi Avi Berman praised the unity he said the organization is seeing.

“Despite the many difficulties since the beginning of the war, Jews of all walks of life have turned to us every day with a desire to give, a desire to be part of the story of the Jewish people. They want to travel the country, help the youth who are evacuated from their homes, pick its fruits, and help the soldiers in any way necessary. The unity is incredible, and we pray that we will continue to see this spirit of togetherness long-term,” Berman said.

OU Israel Program Director Rabbi Sam Shor says he is always moved by the spirit of giving of the volunteers who come to Israel.

“There is such a spirit of unity and desire on behalf of Jews across the globe to give and support Israel in any way possible during this difficult period,” Shor said.

“Through OU Israel’s efforts to provide support to Israeli farmers, so many people have found a meaningful and enjoyable way to do their individual part, assist the farmers, and provide the farmers with tremendous emotional support and encouragement as well.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.