What is the most important program that connects the Jewish people to Judaism and Israel? One could argue that it is the Israel Defense Forces.
The Great Melting Pot
In Israel, the closest thing to a genuine melting pot in the State of Israel is the IDF. No matter what the background of the soldier, there is some basic Jewish education that each and every soldier receives. The basic idea is that the IDF understands that to the extent that soldiers understand why they serve in the IDF, they have more drive to serve properly.
Ingathering of the Exiles
The Israeli Army has always been made up of Jews that came from many countries in Europe. They came from Poland, Germany, Russia, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. Volunteers also came from the USA, England, South Africa, Australia, and South America. They could not have come from a grater variety of locations and mindsets. But the Jewish people have one thing in common – the connection to Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Not all of them understand the depth of this connection. But one good tour through the ancient locations of Jerusalem will awaken something in almost any cynics heart.
So, yes, the Israel Defense forces is not merely about defending the country. It is also about unifying the people with common values.