What is the Israel Government Fellows Program?
AIsrael 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, policy makers, journalists, and a wide range of other public figures.

What is the mission of the program?
A 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 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.

As 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?
A 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 type of individual is the program seeking to find?
AAll applicants to the program must have at least a first degree, and some professional experience. IGF participants will be working with leading figures inside the most influential Israeli governments departments, including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance, and the program is therefore seeking exceptional candidates. The application process will require that applicants demonstrate excellent research and analysis abilities as well as a clear commitment to the well-being of Israel and the Jewish people.
What is expected of Israel Government Fellows alumni?
ALike other programs of MasaIsrael, IGF expects its alumni to return home with a strengthened connection to Israel and a commitment to Zionism and the Jewish people.  The IGF program in particular, looks to recruit those with leadership potential. During the program, Fellows will have the opportunity to develop their potential through their internship postings and will also get to meet and hear prominent and inspiring figures in Israeli society, including government ministers, Members of Knesset and leading academics and security experts, who are all leaders in their own right.  IGF alumni are therefore expected to be expertly equipped to assume leadership roles in their communities.
What kind of certificate do I get at the end of the program?
AFellows will all receive a special certificate confirming completion of the program.  They can also request a letter of recommendation.
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?
AIGF 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?
ADuring the first month-The opening seminar- Fellows attend daily Ulpan studies and seminars at the Begin Center. During that month there will be one trip outside of Jerusalem for 4 days.

Once The opening seminar finishes, Fellows will work Sunday-Wednesday at their government offices or 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 (three days), and will enjoy vacations on Jewish and national holidays. Each month one weekend will be set aside for special programs and tiyulim (trips around Israel).

Fellows will be able to be absent for a few additional days of their choosing for personal reasons.

You say we need to have at least 2 years of work experience – how flexible is that rule?
ARegarding our requirement for two years of work experience or an advanced degree, we are prepared to be flexible providing that we are impressed by the rest of the application.
We are interested in well-rounded applicants but this can often be achieved through extra-curricular activities during university, summer or school-year internships, etc. Often we have fellows who have just graduated college right before the program but for various reasons we have felt that they would be a good fit for the program. So you wouldn’t even need to finish one year of an MA in order to be eligible although of course I can’t guarantee anything. If you like, you can send over your resume and we can give you a sense of if we think you would be a competitive candidate on a basic level.
Is this a good thing to do before making Aliyah?
AWe 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 nearly 30 alumni who now live in Israel who made aliyah after participating on the program.
Is it possible to do other things during IGF?
AIGF 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 five 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.
What if I want to do an MA in Israel?
AMany of our Fellows go on to do MA degrees after the program – in law, governance, public policy, international relations, etc, and would say that the program made them better prepared for their studies.