FIDF's partner program Mahut sent a delegation of approximately 40 commanders and officers, Holocaust survivors and other constituents to Lithuania and Latvia on a 5 day mission. The aim of the Mahut program, which has sent over a dozen delegations abroad, is to strengthen the Jewish and Israeli identities of participants and their connection with the Diaspora (particularly Russian speaking Jews) through a unique series of encounters in Israel and abroad. The program exposes participants to the challenges faced by Jewish communities in the Diaspora, together with questions regarding individual and collective identities.
Participants use what they learn during the mission for self-understanding and personal search, to empower them in the roles as leaders and educators, and to boost their motivation for the remainder of their military service. Mahut is an opportunity for participants to discover and strengthen their culture roots, their Jewish identity, their heritage, and their identity as IDF officers and as Israelis. It is important both personally and at the command level.
The program is ongoing in that when the participants return to Israel, they participate in follow-up projects, complete volunteer work with immigrant youth or the children of immigrants, encourage enlistment by new Olim (new immigrants to Israel) and the children of Olim to the IDF in significant roles for a significant service, and further participate in various IDF projects involving Olim populations in particular. Every officer will choose a place to volunteer that matches his or her skills and personal background.