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What can you do for Israel? Help women learn self-defense

Training Israeli women to respond effectively to threats helps them kick their sense of helplessness

“I need to do something,” I told my friend Yonat one evening in early October. It was only the beginning of what turned out to be the wave of violence we are currently facing, in which innocent people — civilians and soldiers, young and old alike — are being stabbed, shot, and run over in the streets. “I need to either get back into Krav Maga, or learn to shoot a gun, or get a dog, or something, because I feel really unprotected.”

“Come train with Julia and me!” Yonat suggested. Yonat is a certified Krav Maga instructor, trained by the world renown Krav Maga expert Moshe Katz, of Maale Adumim. Our friend Julia Varady is a second degree black belt in taekwondo, a certified self-defense instructor at El Halev, and has been training in Krav Maga and integrating it into her lessons for the last two and a half years.

I couldn’t imagine that she was inviting little ol’ me to train with two very experienced martial artists and self-defense instructors, so I asked, “Are you and Julia teaching a class?”

“No. We just train in my living room a few mornings a week…but wait! Now I’m thinking we should start a real women’s class on the yishuv!”

And so it began.

Julia and Yonat put together a “Krav Crash Course,” a 10-hour course meant to teach the basics of Krav Maga, so the women of Kochav Yaakov could build the confidence and tools needed to defend themselves against an attacker. The techniques they taught were all based on a few simple moves that anyone can do, and we practiced them over and over until they became second nature. We also talked about concepts like being aware of your surroundings, and owning your space.


I am now a graduate of their course and the amount I’ve learned and the difference it has made in my attitude and confidence is enormous. I no longer feel helpless and unprotected, as I had admitted to Yonat that night in October. I’ve retrained my body to react in a more effective way — to lessen injury, and to fight back if necessary. Of course the material we covered was just the tip of the Krav Maga iceberg, and there are still many more techniques to learn, but there are now 20 more women out there who live and work and do their errands in and around an area in Israel that has seen hundreds of violent attacks, and attempts at attacks in the last month and a half, who are not completely helpless.

With the success of their flagship course in Kochav Yaakov, Julia and Yonat realized they can use their expertise to help other women in and around Jerusalem to gain the same skills they just taught to their friends and neighbors.

Julia Varady and Yonat Roskind, two highly trained self-defense instructors, are raising funds to help bring their program to other communities in the Jerusalem area. Because these skills are so crucial, they want to ensure that any woman, no matter her financial status, can join the course. The funds will be used to sponsor women who wish to take their course, as well as cover travel expenses, insurance, renting a space, and buying equipment.

Here is a link to their GoFundMe page where you can read more about their program, and donate to the campaign. Even if you are unable to donate, please take a moment to share the campaign with your families and friends.

If you want to help fight terror, donate. If you want to empower the women of Israel, donate. Your donation might be the determining factor in saving a person’s life.

If you would like to set up a class in your area, you can contact Julia and Yonat directly at:


About the Author
Bahtya Minkin is a full-time mother of four, originally from Lakewood, NJ, now living in Beit El. In her ample spare time she enjoys crocheting, reading, and arguing with strangers on Facebook.
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