Netzer developed many years after the traditional chalutz (pioneering) Zionist youth movements of Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century. The Rabbis, Shlichim and young people who established Netzer were inspired by these early Zionist youth movements. They founded a youth movement that would empower young people to lead others, make decisions for themselves and run their own movement.
Netzer sniffim, being a part of the Progressive Jewish community, embraced Progressive Judaism's beliefs and values. The sniffim also embraced Zionism, as had the traditional youth movements, creating a unique synthesis between these two different belief systems. The Reform movement had traditionally struggled with the idea of Zionism in its early years, but from the 1930's onwards, the movement re-evaluated its position and the State of Israel became a stronger focus.
Netzer aligned itself with the ideology of Reform Zionism believing in a particular vision for Judaism, Israel and the world. The Netzer Sniffim often share a different vision of the world as compared to the adult Progressive communities they are a part of. Netzer believes that this is a healthy and vital element of a Youth Movement even if it means sometimes being at odds with those older than us.
As part of the movement's Zionist commitment, it was an ideological statement to establish the Netzer headquarters in Jerusalem. Netzer Olami aims to be the link for all sniffim around the world. We encourage as many Chanichim (participants) as possible to come to Israel on short-term summer tours, our ten month programme Shnat Netzer and on various other seminars and conferences. We also help to provide Shlichim (educational emissaries) to several of our sniffim. Shlichim are Israeli citizens who are invited by the sniffim to work with the movements. One of their important roles is to develop and implement educational programs and materials about Israel.
As a youth movement we believe in youth empowerment, in young people running things for themselves. The movement's ideology is taught through informal education using a creative multi-method approach. Each year the movement conducts in Israel an International Veida (Conference) where the members who constitute its leadership set policy for the whole movement.
As noted above, we believe in Reform Zionism and in taking an activist stance, striving to bring about the practical realization of our ideology in our world. Some of the key ideas and concepts that we believe are: Reform/Progressive Judaism, Tikun Olam (Repair of the World), Aliya Nimshechet (continuing Aliya) and Reform Zionist Community.
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.