Homepage About us Team Treatments Reports and Articles Pictures Friends Donations Contact

About us

"Harmony Village” (Kfar Izun) – Back on track
Village for recovery and rehabilitation of young adults and backpackers


1. Harmony Village is an innovative treatment and rehabilitation village, the first of its kind in Israel and worldwide.

Harmony Village was established in February 2001, as a non-profit organization, by a group of IDF Reserve Officers, volunteers and professionals who identified the need for treatment in this field and set out to offer a unique solution. As detailed below, the solution provided by Harmony Village facilitates mental treatment suited to the patient’s situation, without the stigmas usually associated with treatment in closed psychiatric institutions.


The Village is intended primarily for the treatment of young adults who experience a psychotic event for the first or second time, generally as a result of drug use or mental crisis. From the experience accumulated by the Village, it appears that most of the patients are young adults who embarked on a backpacking trip abroad following their mandatory military service ("the Big Trip”: usually to India, Far-East or South America) and who suffer mental trauma, requiring treatment. There are also young adults who have similar experiences in Israel and need treatment.


The organization is also active in the prevention of such cases. Once a year – in collaboration with Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) – we organize workshops for 8,000 combat soldiers prior to their release from the military in which we present to them the inherent dangers of drug use and its long-term consequences.


In addition, the organization runs "The Warm House” in India, which was established from funds provided by Israel Anti-Drug Authority, and whose mission is to reduce the number of casualties in the target country.


By engaging in these and other activities, the organization assists in decreasing the numbers of future casualties. Harmony Village’s treatment and prevention activities have rendered it a central pillar in the national fight against drugs.

7. The Village is supported by Israel Anti-Drug Authority and the Health Ministry, and has all the licenses and permits required, including licenses from the Health Ministry and Ministry of Social Welfare. Moreover, the Village’s Friends Association includes some 80 business people, public figures and renowned specialists.

Public implications for Israeli society
8. Unfortunately, drug use in Israel does not start at post-army service age, but rather at younger ages. However, the massive exposure to this culture during the "big trip” attracts additional potential users and increases the use of drugs in communities which otherwise would have been occasional users only. From experience we can see that this exposure has long-term implications which affect the behavior of the backpacking community after their return to Israel. This behavior is expressed, among other things, in "nature parties” where drugs flow freely, held in different locations in Israel and attended by "graduates” of the trips abroad. .

The extent of drug use in Israel, coupled with its prevalence among the higher socio-economic echelons, where drugs are part of the leisure activities, has rendered drugs a national problem, which is weakening the robustness of Israeli society. Treatment of this phenomenon provides a solution for a critical national problem, whose significance for Israeli society increases from year to year. .


Scope of the backpacker phenomenon:

The backpacker phenomenon amongst young Israelis is unique in its size and intensity. There are approximately 50,000 young adults that depart each year on a backpacking trip, mostly to the Far East and South America, following their military service. This is more than half the released soldiers every year.


The numbers show that about 90% of this group uses drugs of different kinds during their trip. Of this group about 2,000 young adults suffer mental disturbances of different levels of severity, due to drug abuse, and of these, about 800 are severely affected and require treatment (often forced hospitalization).


In addition to the population affected abroad, there are approximately 700 young adults that are affected by drugs in Israel, mostly different types of hallucinogenic drugs.


Therefore, every year there is a group of 2,500 to 3,000 young adults that are victims of drug abuse (on different levels) in Israel and abroad and that require treatment.


Patient population and their treatment options

As mentioned, our target group of patients are young backpackers traveling abroad (mostly in the Far East and South America) who are harmed there, and those affected by hallucinogenic drugs in Israel (usually at nature parties or clubs).

In addition, the Village treats those who suffer from post-traumatic shock syndrome (mostly following army service – the Village is recognized as a provider of services to the Ministry of Defense).

The Village also treats, to a certain extent, those who are addicted to cannabis, cocaine and alcohol, following a professional assessment that an open framework suits them best. However, it is important to note that the Village does not treat addicts requiring closed rehabilitation treatment (mostly for heroin).


The Village also treats patients recognized by the National Insurance Institute as mentally disabled. The treatment practice in the Village shows it is beneficial to include a small number of these patients in the group therapy and lead them to successful recovery without having to change the nature of treatment in the Village.


The impressive results achieved by the Village have led to its recognition by the Ministry of Health as a provider of hostel services (on the highest level) included in the Treatment Coverage.


The main characteristic of the patients treated at Harmony Village is that they are in a state of mental crossroads. Appropriate and correct treatment can bring them back to being citizens who contribute to themselves, to the economy and to society. . On the other hand, lack of fitting treatment can render their mental problems permanent, where the patient becomes a burden on society and its institutions.

Harmony Village has taken upon itself the national mission of treating this population in a way that will allow them to return to normative lives. The alternative for these patients is in most cases a closed psychiatric institution, in which most patients are hospitalized against their will.
When dealing with this specific population, there are several advantages to the treatment offered at Harmony Villagecompared with that provided in psychiatric wards, and this without disparaging the treatment offered in hospitals:
Unlike the stigmas associated with treatment in psychiatric wards (open and closed), there are no stigmas attached to treatment at Harmony Village. Reality has shown that this alone is enough to encourage a young patient and his/her family to seek help at the Village instead of ignoring the situation solely due to the stigmas involved.
The fact that Harmony Village focuses specifically on a certain population sector of young Israeli adults with similar backgrounds, allows for more efficient treatment and substantially raises the success rate.
The holistic approach to treatment is suited to the target patients and is provided in addition to drug treatment, as needed.
Harmony Village provides appropriate and suitable treatment for the target population and is a feasible alternative to psychiatric wards. The costs are substantially low in relation to the high success rate of rehabilitation.

The treatment and its results:

The treatment at Harmony Village, which is restricted to 4-5 months, p is based on a "boarding house model” for young adults who come from similar backgrounds and who have many things in common. The patients are treated in an open treatment village located on the beach front and they enjoy close guidance and supervision from young counselors who are well acquainted with each patient’s background and can relate to their experiences. The treatment is based on a holistic approach, which combines Western treatment provided by psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, with Eastern treatments which are intended for a damaged soul, focusing on body-mind-spirit.


The Village can currently accommodate 42 patients, for an average of 4-5 months of treatment. Today, the Village is in the throes of enlarging its capacity to 36 patients, in cooperation with RASHI Foundation.


Despite being recently established, the Village’s success rates are unprecedented. Since its inception up to the end of 2008 over 830 patients have successfully completed the treatment and are reintegrated in normative lives.

A study conducted by an external institute (Martins-Hoffman) has shown that between the years 2004-2006 the success rate of treated patients at Harmony Village was 94%:
A clinical-psychiatric analysis of the findings shows that the Village’s success rate stands at 94%. Success is measured on several levels: 24% recuperated and left the Village without visible pathological symptoms; 31% suffered from mental illnesses; 39% showed a slight improvement in their condition; only 9% showed no improvement.
The qualitative research findings compared graduates of the Village (up to 6 years) and a control group, and found lower clinical states of mental stability in the control group than in the graduates group.
In terms of the functional-behavioral findings "Most of the graduates returned to an independent life-style, which includes integration in the work-force or high-education, development of long-term plans and setting of normative targets in comparison to their peers.”

Regarding the research findings in terms of cognitive-emotional states: "Interviews with graduates show that this is one of the most successful aspects of the treatment at Harmony Village. Amongst the graduates we found significantly high rates of combined coping style, compared to the control group.”


Subjective findings: "We found that the most significant pattern amongst the graduates’ parents is immense appreciation of the Village … Almost all of them describe the Village as life-saving and as a ray of light in darkness.” From the graduates’ remark "you can see that high satisfaction and positive memories describe the experience in the Village. Many remark that the Village is the only place which addressed their problem, and most of them showed a lot of respect for the team in the Village… many graduates tend to visit the Village from time to time, some to continue treatment and follow-up and some just to visit.”

It is important to add that from recent inspection, we found that many patients keep in touch with the Village’s staff, and it is clear that most of them have returned to a normative and productive life-style (academic studies, marriage, reserve service and steady work).
Accumulated experience shows that the graduates have successfully overcome their problems (both drug use and mental illness), and have returned to the mainstream of Israeli life while taking care of themselves, and without relying on assistance provided for the mentally ill. Graduates of the Village are students, high-tech employees, reserve soldiers, who have families, raise children, and more.

The fundamental concept which has guided the Village founders to date is the desire to open its gates to all those that require treatment, regardless of financial capabilities. The Village’s Friends Association raises money through donations, in order to lower the cost as far as possible. In addition there is a "discount committee” which provides up to NIS 3,000 discount per month to those with limited resources, based on pre-determined criteria.


Unique treatment in the Village:

Treatment environment: the Village is located on the beach, in a relaxing and special surrounding.
"Open” Village: both physically (no fence or security) and in attitude. All patients come on their own will, and there are no forced treatments. The open Village is an incentive to take responsibility for the situation and the patient’s trust that they can take back control of their lives.
Holistic approach: the treatment combines Western and Eastern methods.
Group: small, intimate group of 38 patients ages 18-38, who provide support to the fellow group members who have similar experiences.
Short treatment period: focused treatment of 4-5 months on average.
Lack of stigmas and recording: recovery from crisis without stigmas and the recordings accompanying it.
Board of Directors of the Organization:
Anat Dovrat (Chairman), Ilan Neugarten, Gili Tamir, Menachem Shefler, Ruthi Guy (Scholarship Committee), Hagay Hadas, Adv.Dr Gai Carmi, Ruthi Rabin, Shari Golan, Rachel Sharvit, Prof. Danny Koren, Yuval Shuv (Inspection Committee), Moshe Mida (Inspector Committee), Adv. Tzuri Lavi (Legal Consultant).


chairperson Kfar Izun- Anat Dovrat

Legal Consultant - Adv. Tzuri Lavi
(Lipa, Meir and Partners)
Chairman Friends of Kfar Izun -
Doron Shmueli
Manager and Founder - Omri Frish

Accountant - Yossi Filus (Kesselman and Kesselman)

Harmony Village (Kfar Izun), Kibbutz Sedot Yam, Menashe 37804 | 972-4-6100992, izun@izun.org.il