Who are we  

Who we are?

New Course Foundation was formed to help at-risk Israeli youths re-join the mainstream Israeli population and become productive, caring and engaged citizens.

The organization was founded in 2007 by Michael Edrei with Yafa Arbel and Zvi’ka Hess - all of whom are Israeli Air Force (IAF) veterans and lifetime friends. It operates in Israel under the name of Knafaim (Kna-fa-yeem), hebrew for Wings.

What do we do?

All aviators remember the excitement that early flights brought to them. Everyone who experienced controlling an airplane also experienced the increase in confidence and self esteem. Kids of broken homes, with no care, love and direction get lost. They never develop confidence and high self esteem and seek to gain those through violent crime and control of other people. The result leads to more crime, drug abuse and prostitution.

Wings’ idea is to capture the youth at risk at a time it’s still feasible to reverse the cycle. It brings the tools for redeveloping their confidence in themselves and to demonstrate their own ability to control their destiny and raise their self esteem, via flying. Wings introduces its sponsees to new sense of direction, team work, motivation and care for others. Our volunteers teach them how to control a glider, how to interact with their peers and strangers, how to cooperate to achieve a goal and how to trust adults and peers. Wings’ goal is not to train for new pilots; its ambition is to create productive and self motivated human beings.

How do we do it?

Wings operates via two gliding centers in Israel; One in the North and the other in the South of the country. It purchases services, including gliders, equipment and facilities from established soaring organizations, members of Israel Aero Club (IAC) and those under the supervision of Israel Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA). It recruits operations volunteers, and sponsored-schools and organizations that can help advance its purpose. Wings interacts with the police, the ICAA, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and other organizations to assure approval of candidates to the program. It issues guidelines to schools selected to participate and conducts weekly and monthly progress meetings with the educators and counselors to monitor modified behavior of the student-sponsees.

At the conclusion of a program, Wings helps graduates identify appropriate vocational training and works with military personnel to assure inclusion into IDF’s special programs for recruits in need for further adjustments.

Who do we sponsor?

We sponsor students, sixteen and older, who are ready for service in the armed forces, many who were rejected by IDF for their criminal background. These are hard-core rejects of the community, their own homes, and families. They are children who have been absorbed by rehabilitation schools, their last harbor, before they are abandoned to the streets. Wings guides such schools in the selection process of candidates—“the worse a candidate’s situation is, the more eager we are to include him/her in the program—and we have some really difficult situations,” says Zvi’ka, Knafaim’s leader in Israel.

Our team

Led by Zvi’ka Hess, Wings’ lead director, and by Yafa Arbel, our team consists of dozens of volunteers, professionals and institutions. Hess is a retired IAF Colonel with years of instruction and organizational experience. Ms Arbel, a civil engineer, and also a retired IAF officer, with many years of management experience in a Tel Aviv, family-owned, development company. The board consists of active and honoree directors, from senior executives to retired IAF officers, from all walks of life, business and aviation. Our dozens of volunteers consist of flight instructors, tow pilots; educators; counselors; mechanics; aviators; drivers and many more. Our operational partners are made up of Rehabilitation Schools, Megido Gliding Center; Negev Gliding Club, IAF personnel, ICAA, municipalities, IDF, and others.

The Organization

New Course Charity Foundation is a U.S. 501(c)(3), not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization. All contributions are tax deductible to the donors.

In the first three years, the Foundation funded all its activities from its own private resources. No government or public funding is sought or used. The funds were provided solely by its founder. The entire operation is staffed by volunteers, with no monetary compensation for their time or personal expenses.

U.S. activities are operated from a space provided by The Meecorp Group LLC, at no cost.

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