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Mechinat Otzem

The quiet and serenity of Cholot Chalutza make it a perfect environment in which our students can build strong and healthy spiritual foundations in preparation for the tasks of contributing productively to Israeli society in general and serving proudly and successfully in the IDF in particular.

The pre-army yeshiva is designed for idealistic, religious young men who aspire to deepen their Torah knowledge, strengthen their spiritual convictions, and take responsibility for all aspects of their lives both during and after their military service.

The Otsem [Atsmona] English Program

Otzem gives you the opportunity to have the ultimate immersion

experience in Israel, by living, studying and volunteering in an Israeli mechina program, with Israelis your age.

 As a participant, your Israel experience will be more up-close and personal than any other – because you’ll be doing it together with your Israeli peers.

The word mechina means “preparation.” When young Israelis want to take a gap year after high school, to learn more about their culture, society, and Jewish identity, they can participate in one of 50 mechina programs. And just as Israelis use their mechina experience to launch them into elite units and leadership positions in the IDF, you can use your mechina experience to enhance your resume and improve your standing in Israel.

The Otsem experience 


We see three objectives for a successful integration:

  • Hebrew – knowing fluent Hebrew– we have daily Hebrew classes, the end goal being to

study in the regular Hebrew program.

  • Culture – getting to know Israeli culture – experiencing and learning it.
  • Torah – learning what Eretz Israel and Am Israel are all about.

Yeshiva studies designed to build men of faith and action

  • The traditional Yeshiva curriculum, Talmud with Rishonim and Acharonim. 
  • In-depth study of the classic texts of Jewish Philosophy. 
  • Grounding in Mishna and Halacha.


Deepening of Jewish identity, religious-Zionist commitment, and love of the Land of Israel

  • Lectures by experts in the fields of science, politics, military, and philosophy. 
  • Seminars with prominent figures in Israeli society.
  • Field trips and fact-finding missions throughout the country.

Spiritual and physical
preparation for military service The Israeli army is a unique framework that combines strict military discipline with weighty individual responsibility.

  • Our Rabbis provide guidance and counseling in advance of military service geared specifically for students coming from abroad.
  • We offer rigorous physical fitness training, including self defence and map-reading and field navigation in theory and practice. 
  • Army representatives will brief the students on the needs of the army and the opportunities available to them in the armed forces.


Rav Shay Levi
Shana alef ra”m

Rav Shay studied at yeshivat Har HaMor in Jerusalem. He served as a tank commander in the IDF armored corps. After learning in yeshiva he got a degree in psychology. He has being teaching at Otzem for the last few years.

Rabbi Yaron Levy
Head of the English
Speakers Program

Rabbi Levy studied at Bnei David before starting his milatry service. He served as an officer in the Golani infantry unit. After completing his military service, he returned to Bnei David and studied in the post-army yeshiva program.He then continued his studies under Rabbi Shlomo Aviner at Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim

His background in education includes:
teaching in the English speaking programs of Yeshivot; Leading youth groups from the U.S in Israel; and serving as a teacher in the IDF conversion seminar. He served as rabbi of the Ohr Yissachar Ve-Simcha synagogue in Jerusalem and held the position of Ram at the Ateret Yerushalayim pre-army yeshiva. Rabbi Levy is an officer in the reserves. For the past eight years he’s heading the program for students from abroad at Mechinat Otzem

Rav Rafi Peretz Founder and Head Of Otzem Institution's

Rav Rafi is the founder of the mechina.
Rav Rafi founded the mechina in 1993, for years he served as a pilot in the Air Force. In addition, Rav Rafi was the Chief Rabbi of the IDF and Minister of Education and Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

Rav Reei Peretz Head of the Mechina

Rabbi Rei was a rabbi in the mechina for a decade and then was appointed head of the mechina. The rabbi serves as a company commander in a reserve armored brigade with the rank of major.

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What our graduates say

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The service in the IDF

Many of our students enlist in the IDF after studying in the mechina. They have the option of enlisting in any unit in the IDF. They can enlist alone or in a group, as part of Maha”l [volunteers from abroad] or as new immigrants.

A large portion of our students serve in the special units of the IDF.

Throughout their military service we keep in touch with our students, ready to give any help they may need. At any given moment, Mechinat Otzem has about 600 graduates in the IDF, this creates a network for support for our boys.

The fact that a large part of our staff has served in the army, and currently serves in the reserve, some in special units and command positions, creates a situation where the staff understands what the guys are going through and knows how to support them.


We want to invite you to join us for a life changing experience, at your new home in Israel