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“The mechina world forges our leaders.” President Herzog hosts Shibolim

Shibolim, the disabilities mainstreaming program of the mechinot, has completed its pilot phase. In a show of appreciation, the president of Israel hosted program staff and students at his official residence

17/03/2022 - 13:48

This Tuesday, President Isaac Herzog hosted an event at his official residence to mark the end of the pilot phase of Shibolim, the disability mainstreaming program of the mechinot. Program students and alumni presented themselves and had a chance to talk with the president. In remarks congratulating the organizations behind Shibolim for a job well done, President Herzog said: “The mechinot are such an enormous thing. There’s no doubt at all that today, the mechina world forges our leaders. I see it in all the fields of civil service. I see quality that I didn’t see in the past.”

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Maya, a Shibolim alumna, reminisced that mechina “was an amazing experience with lots of development and giving back to the community.” Asked by the president whether she was nervous before going to mechina, she said: “Definitely, it was part of the experience. There were more than a few challenges, but also more than a few opportunities where they pushed me forward and gave me the platform to influence those around me and push for an equitable and ethical society.”

“There were more than a few challenges, but also more than a few opportunities where they pushed me forward and gave me the platform to influence those around me and push for an equitable and ethical society.”

 “For me,” said Nadav, a Mechinat Rabin alumnus who came in his white navy dress uniform, “mechina was one of the most meaningful years of my life.”

The guests arrived at the President’s Residence from all over Israel: young men and women from different mechinot, university students, enlisted soldiers, officers, all with the same spark in their eyes and the same motivation to lead the charge for a more equitable society.

Efrat Stern, director of Israel Unlimited at JDC–Israel, spoke for the organizations that together made Shibolim a reality. “The participation of individuals with disabilities at the mechinot,” she said, “is first of all a part of their equal right to live a full life in the community. This is reflected by the leadership that the program’s students develop at mechina and among mechina alumni without disabilities, who carry it forward, helping to change attitudes and create an equitable society. This is the essence of becoming integrated as part of society.”

Joint Council of Mechinot CEO Dani Zamir said: “The modest ceremony at the President’s Residence with President Isaac Herzog recognized and honored the dedication of the mechinot to a social mindset where there is a place for everyone at mechina! A society’s leadership is a product of integration and social diversification. Young people with disabilities are an integral part of the leadership of this country, too.”

“The event with the president was a meaningful one: an event to recognize the partners in the creation of a groundbreaking program that integrates young people with disabilities at the mechinot. We’re proud of the program’s alumni and students for honorably representing this amazing and important project. Keep it up!”

Shibolim director Zeev Sela said: “The event with the president was a meaningful one: an event to recognize the partners in the creation of a groundbreaking program that integrates young people with disabilities at the mechinot. We’re proud of the program’s alumni and students for honorably representing this amazing and important project. Keep it up!”

Shibolim was launched in 2016 as a partnership of JDC–Israel, the Joint Council of Mechinot, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Settlement Affairs, the National Insurance Institute, the Ruderman Family Foundation, and UJA–Federation of New York. Since then, Shibolim has been administered by the Joint Council. The program’s goal is to enable young people with disabilities to attend mechina.

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