The Mechinot

The Pre-Military Academies (Mechinot)

Traditional and secular mechinot

Secular and traditional mechinot (pre-military leadership academies) are coeducational institutions that serve secular, traditional, and some Orthodox young Israelis who have just graduated from high school and have chosen to spend time studying in preparation for their military service, which is deferred by twelve to eighteen months. These mechinot, each in its own way, seek to help young Israelis freshly out of high school develop into effective, passionate young men and women who will emerge as a new generation of leaders in the IDF and throughout society who are connected to their roots and in touch with national culture and identity as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Basic Laws of the State of Israel.

Traditional and secular mechinot

Secular and traditional mechinot (pre-military leadership academies) are coeducational institutions that serve secular, traditional, and some Orthodox young Israelis who have just graduated from high school and have chosen to spend time studying in preparation for their military service, which is deferred by twelve to eighteen months.

These mechinot, each in its own way, seek to help young Israelis freshly out of high school develop into effective, passionate young men and women who will emerge as a new generation of leaders in the IDF and throughout society who are connected to their roots and in touch with national culture and identity as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Basic Laws of the State of Israel.

The mechina program is an intensive experience of:

  • Jewish and Zionist identity

    • Enrichment workshops based on dialogue about various topics including Judaism, Zionism, familiarity with Israeli society, psychology, economics, and more

    • Acquisition of broader knowledge of the Land of Israel through field trips and excursions

    • In-depth study of the many different parts of Israeli society

    • Introduction to the Jews of the Diaspora

  • Volunteering

    • Activities to benefit children, at-risk youth, and excluded groups

    • Work with Holocaust survivors and the elderly

    • Organization of holiday celebrations and ceremonies for a community near the mechina

    • Emergency mobilization in the event of national emergency, such as war or natural disaster

  • Leadership

    • Leadership training

    • Self-management training through team learning and group decision-making discussions

    • Preparation for serving meaningfully in the IDF, with an emphasis on assuming officer duties and command roles

    • Guidance to help alumni who have completed their military service reach their potential as they move forward

The mechina program is the beginning of an educational process that allows every young person to learn, gain experience, and ask meaningful questions about his or her identity and core values of a cherished worldview. During this process, young people become parts of a social network of action and vision, and develop reserves of motivation stemming from values that seek to benefit Israeli society on a national scale.

The effects of the mechina program are in evidence after the mechina year when graduates begin arriving in leadership roles throughout Israeli society, beginning with meaningful service in the IDF as officers and commanders and then as they take their places throughout the organizations serving the Israeli public: government ministries, the school system, municipal governments, political parties, charitable and political nonprofit organizations, the media, and so on.

The secular and traditional mechinot seek to provide for youth from all communities in Israel and all parts of the Israeli population, regardless of origin and socioeconomic status. To be admitted, young people only must be leaders or have the potential to become leaders.

Some of these mechinot are proud to make a point of bringing together religious and secular students as a reflection of their philosophy, while others specifically consider themselves to be secular institutions. All work closely with the Orthodox mechinot, through both the Joint Council and regular meetings.

The number and variety of mechinot permit every suitable young Israeli to find a place in a mechina after high school and grow into part of an impressive alumni network that we believe is the catalyst for profound, fundamental social change in Israel: a long, deep process that alumni of all mechinot—secular, traditional, and Orthodox—already have begun bringing to our country and will continue moving forward as the mechinot and the State of Israel grow together.

The mechina enterprise already has yielded impressive accomplishments and projects, with graduates making their mark wherever they go. Yet there is much left to accomplish.

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