What would motivate a successful corporate lawyer to trade in his comfortable life in America for three weeks every year to volunteer for manual labor on Israeli military bases?
Mark Werner, son of a Holocaust survivor, is an ardent Zionist seeking a personal way to show support for Israel. Sar-el is an organization that enables thousands of volunteers from all over the world to work in a civilian capacity on Israeli military bases, freeing up IDF soldiers for more serious duties. This book is based on journals the author kept during 14 Sar-el stints from 2006 to 2019.
Werner describes working through a desert sandstorm, dealing with a scorpion in his bunk, taking refuge in a bomb shelter during a Palestinian missile attack, and more. Through simple activities—from packing kit bags and medical supplies for the soldiers to filling sandbags and assembling tank antennas—the volunteers work hard to make their contributions to the defense of Israel. The camaraderie that develops between volunteers and soldiers as they work side by side is their greatest reward.
“Mark Werner is a born storyteller, and A Passion for Israel is a continually insightful and compelling tale of a man who set out to do good and succeeded. A poignant memoir, A Passion for Israel is a sort of ‘City Slickers’ with a Jewish twist that will tug at the heart of any committed Jew.” —Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish Ethics
- 488 pages
- Inside look at the civilian volunteers on IDF bases
- Riveting anecdotes
- Guidance for those seeking to support Israel
A Passion for Israel – Adventures of a Sar-El Volunteer
Mark Werner has volunteered on Israeli military bases for each of the past 18 years with no plans to stop. He is the author of a previous book describing his first four volunteer experiences, Army Fatigues: Joining Israel’s Army of International Volunteers (Devora Publishing). He also edited his father’s wartime memoir, Fighting Back: A Memoir of Jewish Resistance in World War II by Harold Werner (Columbia University Press). Mark is currently the President of Volunteers for Israel, the organization that enables him and other Americans to serve as civilian volunteers on Israeli military bases.