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A Passion for Israel: Adventures of a Sar-El Volunteer

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 combat gear 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.

The story of an enriching volunteer experience like no other, A Passion for Israel provides a roadmap for others to show their support for the Jewish state.


Praise for A Passion for Israel


"Those who think that American Jews have lost their commitment to Israel and dedication to its defense must read A Passion for Israel. Mark Werner has shown how every Jew has a meaningful role to play in strengthening the Jewish state. An important and uplifting book for Americans and Israelis alike."

-Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States and Member of Knesset


"A work that beautifully expresses the real Israel, and how one man's passion becomes both a contribution and a source of enrichment for him, as it will for the reader."

-Rabbi David Wolpe, Temple Sinai, Los Angeles; author of David: The Divided Heart


"An inherently fascinating, deftly written, exceptionally well presented, and impressively informative memoir that blends Israeli military history and elements of Israel travel."

-Midwest Book Review


"Those who have volunteered for Sar-El themselves will certainly devour the meticulously documented descriptions, reliving their own days in green. Those who have affection for army culture will revel in the many army stories Werner retells. And those who simply love Israel will be moved by the devotion of one man who serves his adopted country faithfully, year after year."

-The Jerusalem Post