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Army Fatigues: Joining Israel's Army of International Volunteers

Sar-El places volunteers from all over the world on Israeli military bases. The workforce provided by the Sar-El volunteers frees up Israeli soldiers and makes an important contribution to the Israeli army.

With the outbreak of the second Intifada and suicide bomber attacks on Israeli civilians, Mark Werner, a successful American lawyer and son of a Holocaust survivor, joined Sar-El and worked on an Israeli military base side-by-side with Israeli soldiers and other volunteers.

Werner chronicles his experiences in four stints as a volunteer on army and navy bases during some of the most stressful years in Israel's recent history. In these journals, he focuses on the everyday lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians, offering an insider's view of Israel's armed forces, as well as a portrait of a democratic society structured on self-defense. He also explores the motivations of his fellow volunteers, for whom volunteering is often part of a personal journey.

Above all, this is an ongoing story of a middle-aged American, white-collar professional stepping out of his comfort zone to make a meaningful contribution to Israel and forge his own connections to it.


Praise for Army Fatigues


"Mark Werner is a born storyteller, and Army Fatigues is a continually insightful and compelling tale of a man who set out to do good and succeeded. A poignant memoir, Army Fatigues is sort of a '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


"All those interested in the reality of Israeli military life and the challenges facing modern-day Israel and its people in their ongoing struggle for a normal existence against the backdrop of military conflict will find this book inspirational."

-Rabbi David Ellenson, Chancellor Emeritus, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion


"The story that emerges will leave readers with a new insight into the complexity and commitment that are at the heart not only of life in the IDF, but in all of Israel. This is a book that one does not forget."

-Dr. Daniel Gordis, Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow, Shalem College


"Mark Werner has written a book that will fascinate and delight those who love Israel. Just as his father had the courage to challenge Nazi rule by force of arms, so his son has taken up the cause of supporting and defending Israel. His story could inspire others to do the same."

-Sir Martin Gilbert (z"l), Honorary Fellow, Merton College, Oxford University


"Army Fatigues is an inspiring and uplifting chronicle of what these volunteers do and how their service helps Israel, and in the process, transforms them."

-Rabbi Jack Riemer, author of Finding God in Unexpected Places