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Combining Two Unique Experiences into One Trip - Simon

I was recently fortunate enough to travel to Israel and combine two unique mini-trips into one physically taxing but incredible experience. 

The main purpose of my trip was to serve with Sar-El on an IDF base.  For years I have supported Israel monetarily through various charitable organizations, but there always seemed to be something missing.  You write a check, get a “thank you” note and that’s it.  You have no genuine sense of how the money is used, who it touches or whether it is effective.  A friend of mine had done two Sar-El trips and highly recommended them as a way to more tangibly support Israel in general, and the IDF in particular.  So I signed up for a one week program on an (at that time) undetermined IDF base.  The Sar-El organization promised “Spartan” living but a rewarding experience.  They were spot on.  We were a group of 18 Sar-El volunteers, hailing from the U.S., Canada, Israel, Europe and Australia, and we served on a base in the south.  Prior to our arrival the IDF had conducted some major drills, so all of the equipment was in “post-drill” condition: dirty, broken, unorganized, etc.  Normally there are only two soldiers on this base managing quite a number of storage sheds, and so they were delighted to have additional pairs of hands to help take out the equipment, check it, clean it, fix it, re-pack or re-fold it and then put it back in an organized fashion for the next set of drills.  It was hard manual labor under the desert sun – 8:30 am to 6:00 pm each day, with a one hour lunch break, and much of the equipment was heavy or awkward to handle – but we really felt like we were making a tangible contribution to the IDF.  We lived the army way, on army time, wearing fatigues for work, sleeping in Spartan barracks, eating army food with the soldiers, army style, in the mess hall, and participating in morning flag raisings with the soldiers.  Part of the experience was also about getting to know individual soldiers, hearing their stories and learning of their passions and concerns.  In addition, we were fortunate to be stationed at the base over Yom Hashoah, so were able to participate in a moving ceremony in remembrance of the Holocaust, when all of Israel stops at precisely 10:00 am for two minutes of individual silence amid continuous sirens.  Last but not least, our wonderful Sar-El leader (“madricha”), Adina, really enhanced the experience by connecting us to the base commanders, ironing out any wrinkles and helping to educate us about the IDF.  This type of trip is not for everyone, but there is a real sense of achievement and contribution – both at the individual and group levels – that I doubt is possible to get elsewhere.

However, before I went down to the IDF base, I did three days of intensive, physical personal training in Tel Aviv with a security firm, Xpert Security.  The principals of Xpert served in elite units in the IDF and/or are or were key instructors to the IDF in areas such as combat pistol shooting, Krav Maga (unarmed combat) and combat fitness training.  I trained with Xpert in all three areas over three days, and it was a truly fabulous experience.  Xpert’s instructors were highly professional and patient with me, and they all started at base level, ratcheting up the intensity and complexity in accordance with my abilities.  They certainly pushed me to new levels, but all of the training was conducted with a premium on safety and with the objective of impelling me to make tangible improvements compared with where I started.  Xpert can create customized individual or group programs, and I would highly recommend to those going on Sar-El, who are looking for something very different to do while in Israel, to consider some training with Xpert.  Like Sar-El, training with Xpert is not for everyone, but also like Sar-El, once you’ve trained with Xpert, you’ll wonder how you can ever top the experience elsewhere.

Recommendation from Steve

My name is Steve Kerutis and I feel that I had a more complete Israeli experience when I combined my Sar-El experience with the Xpert program.  I wanted to add actual military training to my Sar-El military service.  Instead of just working with IDF soldiers, I wanted to go a step further and actually do some training with them too.  The training with Xpert was modified to my age, prior experience, and fitness level.

On 2 November 2012 I left for a 16 day trip to Israel.  My first 4 days was with my Sar-El unit.  Then the base has three days off.  My Xpert instructors picked me up at my Sar-El base and my Xpert training began immediately for the next 3 days.  I reported back to Sar-El and worked on the base for another 4 days.  Then my last three days was back with Xpert.  Obviously, I slept very well on the plane trip home!

What Xpert offers is so unique and enriching that I highly recommend any adventurous Sar-El volunteer consider adding Xpert to your experience.  The Xpert program gets you directly involved in some of the soldier’s training to include hand-to-hand combat skills called Krav-Maga, shoot and move training, and combat physical fitness.

What I found best about the program is that I was being trained by the IDF’s highest level of instructors.  Each trainer served with an Israeli elite special forces unit.  And, everything was tailored to my specific abilities.  So the training was very challenging, but not overdone.  Some of the other highlights of the Xpert program were:

- Meeting and personal training with the head of KravMaga in the IDF.
- Shoot and move training with an elite special forces’ weapons expert.
- Physical fitness and combat training with elite trainers.
- Visiting the Duvdevan special forces unit base and meeting with the unit commander and soldiers.
- The Rabin assassination lecture and a tour to the Rabin monument.
- A briefing of the history of terrorism in Israel and abroad lecture.
- A tour of one of Israeli’s largest weapon maker and their weapons display with training.
- A meeting and participation with 17-year-old youths who are training to be accepted to elite IDF units.
- A professional photographer during some of the sessions to capture the experience.

I highly recommend that Sar-El partner with X-pert to bring a better and fuller experience to their more adventurous volunteers. 

Please contact me for further information of my elite experience:

Steve Kerutis


Upcoming Courses

  • Basic Krav Maga: February 5-10, April 15-20
  • Krav Maga instructors: February 12-24, May 13-25
  • Basic VIP Protection: March 11-22, June 3-15
  • Basic security officer course Protection: March 25-30, June 17-22

Contact Details

The Xpert security team will be happy to answer any questions you might have.


  • Tel: 972-77-4208200
  • Fax: 972-77-4208201
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  • Address: Aharon Bakar 15, Tel Aviv