Machanaim was established in Moscow, USSR in the 1970s, by a small group of young idealists, becoming one of the first underground Zionist movements during the time that Prisoners of Zion were persecuted and their lives endangered while operating in secret, for fear of being caught by the KGB. Despite harsh conditions, they taught Torah and Jewish tradition, and provided information on the State of Israel.
The majority of Machanaim's members immigrated to Israel with the subsequent fall of the "Iron Curtain" at the beginning of Perestroika in 1987, when the renowned astrophysicist Dr. Zeev Dashevsky, the founder and driving force behind Machanaim, and other members received their long awaited permits to make Aliya and realize their dream.
Immediately upon their arrival, they re-established the movement in Israel, with its center in Maale Adumim, and set two goals: One, to work with new immigrants from the FSU in Israel; two, to organize educational-Zionist activities amongst the Jews who remained in the FSU, with this double purpose giving the name to the organization “Machanaim”, meaning “two camps” (according to Genesis, 33:2).
Machanaim has adapted itself to the changing needs of society, while continuing to remain loyal to its original vision – Zionism, tradition and Jewish education.
Machanaim strives to reach out to all Russian speakers around the world (Germany, Ukraine, USA and Israel), bring them closer to Jewish tradition and give them an understanding of the importance of a strong Israel, as a Jewish homeland for ever more.