What is the Israel Government Fellows Program?
Israel Government Fellows (IGF) is an Exclusive and selective Masa Israel program run by the Begin Center and endorsed by the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel. IGF offers outstanding and highly motivated young Jews an opportunity to intern in Israeli Government ministries, NGO’s, and leading policy/research organizations, and to learn and live the real Israel through an in-depth educational program. It is the only existing program of its kind for non-Israelis and is available for Jews aged 22-30 with at least a first degree.
The program’s duration is ten months and is based in Jerusalem. As well as working closely with a government official in a Ministry or other government branch, participants will attend weekly seminars and joint activities with Israelis. They will travel throughout the country and will meet with Israeli officials, policymakers, journalists, and a wide range of other public figures.
What is the mission of the program?
IGF is a program of MasaIsrael and, as such, has an overriding mission to help young Jewish people from around the world to forge a lifelong connection with the State of Israel. Uniquely, IGF does this through a combination of work experience exposing them to the workings of the Israeli government, and a series of educational seminars on different aspects of Israeli politics and society.
The program encourages professionalism and self-development, while also enabling participants to make a real contribution to the future of the State of Israel. It’s an initiative of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, which looks to preserve the memory of Israel’s sixth Prime Minister, the program is also based around values that reflect his vision of a Jewish and democratic Israel, driven by a commitment to individual liberty, social justice, the rule of law and equality for all its citizens.
What does the Israel Government Fellows program have to offer me?
This program provides participants with invaluable work experience and leadership training, which will be transferrable to future employment and will be impressive additions to any CV. It is a unique opportunity for aspiring Jewish leaders to acquire new skills while contributing to Israeli politics and society, to learn about Israeli history and culture, and to strengthen their connection to the Jewish state.
What is the difference between the Israel Government Fellows program and other professional internship programs provided by MasaIsrael? How do I choose which program to participate in?
IGF is not for everyone and it may be that one of the other MasaIsrael programs suits you better – if, for example, you are looking for an internship in the commercial field. However, it is the only program that offers the opportunity to intern in the Israeli government – as opposed to the private, or non-profit, sectors. In addition, IGF provides an educational program of seminars and talks by high-profile political figures, which is not mirrored in other programs.
What will my week look like?
The program schedule is built from two parts:
The first six weeks of the program are opening seminar. A typical day during the opening seminar is four hours of Ulpan (Hebrew studies) and four hours of lectures (including lunch break) at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center.
Once the opening seminar finishes, Fellows will work Sunday-Wednesday at their government offices, policy, and diplomacy organizations. Thursday will be a seminar day where Fellows will have the opportunity to meet and listen to leading decision makers and opinion-formers in Israeli society.
Most weekends (Fri-Sat) are free. Fellows will have several long weekends scheduled throughout the year and will enjoy vacations on Jewish and national holidays.
Fellows will be able to be absent for a few additional days of their choice for personal reasons.
Is it possible to do other things during IGF?
IGF is a full time and an intense program. Our Fellows intern in Israeli Government Ministries or public policy institutions in Jerusalem four days a week and attend educational seminars on different topics in Israeli government, politics, and the wider Jewish world once a week. They also take 140 hours of Hebrew lessons and attend overnight trips around the country. The program is quite rigorous but we believe that the reward is worth it. Our fellows are looking to experience day-to-day life in Israel and get their hands dirty with the tough issues and that’s why our program is so jam-packed.
We’ve had Fellows in the past that have had to wait until they’d finishing their Bachelor’s or Master’s before enrolling to the program. In that regard, IGF is designed for those who’ve already graduated or those who have since been working.
Is this a good thing to do before making Aliyah?
We often have fellows who use the IGF program as a ‘launch pad’ for aliyah and a way to transition into life and work in Israel by learning about the political system, studying Hebrew, traveling, working in a government office and making contacts. We have several alumni who now live in Israel who made aliyah after participating in the program.