Netzer Olami evolved from networks of various synagogue youth clubs to a movement that today has sniffim (branches) in Progressive Jewish centers around the world. The initiative began in 1978 in two of these centers, Australia and South Africa. Rabbis from the Progressive Movement initiated the idea of a Reform Zionist Youth Movement and they sent Shlichim (educational emissaries) to help guide the building of the new youth movement. The Shlichim came as educators who could impart knowledge and experience related to the State of Israel and the classic framework of youth movements. A youth movement is an ideological community led by young people that continually develops through its participants. Through this partnership of Rabbis, Shlichim, the communities and the young people themselves, the youth movement was founded.
The world-wide Progressive Zionist Youth Movement offers Zionist and Progressive Jewish informal education and experience to over 6,000 young people from the age of six till their mid-twenties, from Reform Progressive and Liberal communities in over 14 countries.