Israel, otherwise known as The Holy Land, is a tiny but dynamic place. It is home to a rich mix of cultures, religions, strong-willed people, and all kinds of terrain. The North is lush and green and hilly, the west boasts the beautiful Mediterranean coast, the south is home to the massive Negev Desert and the east houses the infamous Dead Sea. The farthest distance in the country is only six hours by car, north to south. Israel has typical Mediterranean weather with very hot summers and cool and rainy winters. There is even snowfall a few times a year at the Hermon Mountain in the north and in Jerusalem. Israel is a mix of middle-eastern ethnic and religious traditions, with a bit of western influence thrown in. The cultures are very rooted in and connected with the history of the land. About 75% of the population is Jewish, 20% Arab, and the remaining 5% are others, Christians, and non-religious affiliates. Israel is a special place that Jews from all over the world migrate, bringing with them their home-country customs foods, languages, etc. Because of this there are strong Russian, French, and eastern European influences as well. The national languages are Hebrew and Arabic, but the majority of people in the country speak Hebrew. English is also widely known, so do not worry if you Hebrew or Arabic is not up to par. Israeli food is a direct reflection of the many cultural influences in the land. Most notably, Arabic and Jewish traditions come together to form famous dishes such as falafel, hummus, shakshuka, kebabs, and more salads than you can fit in your belly. Israelis are all about their food, and if you choose to volunteer in Israel, you will soon find out why. The cultural centers of Israel are Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is a lively city known for its beaches, wild night scene, shopping, trendy restaurants and international population. Many travel publications have labeled it the capital of “cool” in the Mediterranean. Jerusalem is a bird of a different feather. The stunning stone city in the mountains is the religious capital of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Jerusalem is an eclectic place filled with passionate people and history over 3000 years old – it is a must see! In Israel, volunteering is very popular: roughly 32 percent of the adults in Israel are volunteers! This means all types of opportunities are available, and the great part is that knowledge of the Hebrew or Arabic language is not required. Israel is a very eco-oriented country. There, exist communities called kibbutzim, specifically the eco-kibbutzim, that are dedicated to sustainability and small work-for-trade living. If you are interested in becoming more connected with the land, especially the special land of Israel, contact a kibbutzim organizer. If you want to work directly with people, there are many volunteer options for you. Possibilities include providing meals at a soup kitchen, working in shelters for women and children, child-care for underprivileged children, and much more. There are many organizations of all sorts that provide one-on-one care to those in need. Volunteer English teacher are in high demand across the country. Placements include schools (from primary to high), after school programs, and teaching in adult-oriented programs. Whether or not you are required to have you TEFL certification is dependent on where exactly it is you will be teaching. Volunteering in Israel goes a long way. Who doesn’t want to spend their free time hanging at the beach, cooking up a Shabbat dinner with friends or a host family, or going on some of the best hikes in the Middle East? Volunteer in Israel and see what Israeli life is all about.