Frequently Asked Questions – Israel Challenge – English Track 2012
How do I apply?
To apply for the Israel Challenge Gap-Year Program Follow this link: [Application Information].
Who can apply?
The Israel Challenge Gap-Year program is intended for Jews living in the Diaspora. This program is for participants between the ages of 18-21. This is an international program by definition. On our program you will meet with Jews from approximately 20 different countries around the world.
What are the program Dates?
In order to fully understand the program’s itinerary pleases download the Program Calendar. [Download]
How much does the Israel Challenge – English Track program cost?
The Israel Challenge –English Track Gap-Year program tuition for 2012 is as follows:
Israel Challenge 5 month program 2012-13 (August – January) = $10870.00
What is included in the cost?
Israel Challenge is an “all included” program. This means that once the program begins there is no need to spend any money whatsoever within the framework of the program. All accommodation, meals, transportation, entrance fees, medical insurance, program services and extracurricular activities are all included in the cost of the program. Anything and everything that we provide during this program is included in the cost, there are no hidden or extra costs to be dealt with once the program has initiated.
What is not included in the cost?
Israel Challenge does not include the cost of Airfares nor does this cost include personal expenses on weekends, vacations or free time.
Is there Financial Aid available?
Yes. There are many scholarships available for gap year programs in Israel, for more information please follow this link: [Tuition]
How do you keep the participants safe?
Israel Challenge operates as a part of the MASA Organization and the Jewish Agency. We receive routine security updates on an ongoing basis and adjust security for the students accordingly (this includes restricting their free time when necessary).
Israel Challenge possesses clear rules and regulations set that must be fulfilled at all times. When going out on excursions and hikes we always obtain clearance from the appropriate departments in the ministry of defense. We strongly recommend each participant to have a cellular phone which allows us to locate all students in the event of an emergency. Furthermore, all the participant who choose to have a cell phone from the IsraelPhones rental company are united in one text messaging service so we can send Text messages with security updates.
For more information regarding security settings doing Israel Challenge please follow this link: [Security]
How can I get a cell phone?
We strongly recommend our participants to acquire an Israeli cell phone for the duration of the program through the “Israel Phones” Phone Rental Company which offers competitive rates, including free calls to the other participants on the program. “Israel Phones” is a highly respected company which provides phone service to many tourists and long term visitors to Israel. We have been working in cooperation with Israel phones for the past 6 years. The Phones will be distributed within the first day or two of the program by a representative of the phone company. For further information please see the Israel Phones section of this site by following this link: [IsraelPhones]
What is “Free Time” and how much is there for participants?
For Israel Challenge, “free time” means that the program has no planed activities, offering our participants the possibility to let their heart be their guide. Most weekends are to be considered free time, yet the participants will always have meals and accommodations for them. Free weekends are the ideal opportunity to meet up with relatives or to simple explore this wonderful nation with friends. We also have the 10 day Succoth Break programmed for (1st through 13th of October 2012) these 10 days are to be considered “free time” though as previously stated, for all participants who are not interested in taking advantage of these vacation days can continue the program as usual.
Can my parents come and visit me during the program? Can I join them during their stay in Israel?
Your parents can visit you during the program. You can join them during their stay in Israel, but you are required to coordinate your leave with your counselor. If your parents visit during the MARVA course, they will have to comply with the course’s rules regarding visits. During the MARVA course you will be able to join your parents on the course’s discretion. For more information regarding parents visits please follow this link: [Vacation/Family visits]
When is the best time for parents to come to visit?
The best time for parents to visit the participant is during the 10 day vacation period in Succoth. (12th through 22nd of October 2011). Apart from this opportunity we recommend the coming out before the program initiates or after it has concluded. Besides these three options, we are aware that sometimes parents are unable to be flexible with their visits; therefore we have created a system of “vacation days” within the program. For more information please follow this link: [Vacation/Family visits]
Do I need to have my own health insurance?
Basic medical insurance is provided by the program. Coverage includes doctor’s visits, medications, and emergency care for most illnesses and incidents which may arise during the program, (excluding prescription eyeglasses and dental care). Any pre-existing conditions are also excluded, as well as other limitations applying; therefore we recommend maintaining their own private health insurance from their country of origin. Specific information detailing the medical insurance policy is available by following this link: [Medical Insurance Policy].
Who is supervising my child?
The Israel Challenge – English Track staff are a highly experienced group of educators and administrators and together with trained madrichim (counselors) will be supervising each and every participant from the beginning of the program and until the end. Having said that we are a program for Independent adults, we see each participant a young adult who is eager to learn and explore. Our intention is to create the ideal framework for these curios young minds to be able to satisfy their own personal goals. We are here to guide, help and support at all times.
Can the participants travel into the West Bank?
Our participants may only travel on his/her free time into the West Bank with your expressed written permission and even then only with the permission of the program staff, who will make the determination based on the advice of our security advisors and their current recommendations.
What is the drug and alcohol policy?
There is a strict no tolerance policy for drugs on the program. Drugs are illegal, therefore as with any other transgression of Israeli law it is grounds for immediate explosion of the program and will be dealt with directly by the proper authorities. Drinking in Israel is legal from the age of 18 and thus participants who are older than the legal age are allowed to drink as long as they do so responsibly. Drinking is a privilege and not a right and may be revoked if it is determined by the staff to be in the best interest of the participant and/or the program. In any case, irresponsible drinking is also grounds for explosion. We will go over the rules and regulations of the program time and time again with our participants within the first few days of the program.
How do I fly to and from Israel?
Round trip airfare to/from Israel is not included in the program tuition in order lower the costs to the participant. Participants are welcome to fly on the airline of their choice or purchase a ticket using frequent flier miles.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of spending money you will use will depend on your personal spending habits, but you should expect that you will need approximately $150-300 per month to cover the cost of entertainment, occasionally eating out, and transportation and attractions in your free time. Most gap year participants find that they prefer to use their ATM card / credit card from home or to withdraw cash and make purchases in Israel. (Just make sure it is an “international” Credit/Debit Card)
Should I bring my laptop?
You are welcome to bring your laptop, having said that it is also highly recommended to insure your laptop for the duration of the program; we are unable to take responsibility over the loss or destruction of any and all privet property.
How religious is the program?
Israel Challenge – English Track – Gap Year and Semester Programs are multi-denominational with student populations representing the entire spectrum of Jewish practice from secular to orthodox. We are by definition an ideological pluralist program. We strive to blend these backgrounds together to make as comfortable an environment as possible for everyone, while also encouraging the students to learn from each other and accommodate each other’s needs creating a dynamic, caring community. Kosher food and utensils are provided and program activities on Shabbat are respectful of the observance level of the participants.
What should I pack?
You should pack enough clothes for two weeks; although you will always routine have access to laundry services (except for the Marva – military program). Take into account that the program is during summer and autumn and that the program includes trips where you will walk under the sun and you will get wet. Your gear should be no more than one suitcase and a backpack.
Does the program insure my belongings during my stay in Israel?
No, we as program organizers are unable to be responsible for any and all items of value that you may possess. If you are interested you may insure your valuables in your country before traveling.
Does the program provide medical insurance?
Yes, all our participants are insured with a special medical insurance designed for the program by the “Harel Insurance Co. LTD.”. The insurance stands from the day the program begins until the day the participant leaves the program, or the program ends officially. For more information please follow this link: [medical insurance]
If I arrive in Israel before the beginning of the program does the program provide accommodation?
Israel challenge is legally responsible for all our participants from the day the program begins and until it ends. Sadly we are unable to provide legal responsibility coverage for extra days before or after the program, though we will gladly provide information help and support, whenever possible.
If I arrive in Israel before the beginning of the program, can where do I need to be on the first day of the program?
Israel Challenge – English Track 2012 begins on Wednesday August 29th at 12 O’clock mid day in the general reception hall Terminal 3 Ben Gurion International Airport.
If I want to take a vacation outside of Israel during the program, is that possible?
Yes, during the program there are a few different opportunities when you can take periods of vacations within Israel or abroad, but they are limited to Masa’s requirements of up to 10% of the total time of the program, and not during the first or the last month of the program. You also have to coordinate the vacation with the program and get the expressed written consent of your parents as is required on the terms and conditions document you signed. Please take into account that there is a list of countries you are forbidden to visit during the program (even with your parents authorization), which include every country on the advisory list of Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Yemen, and more…
I have additional questions, who can I speak to?
General information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Information: email@example.com