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“Excellence isn’t a slogan. It’s a way of life.” Munir Madi on lighting a torch atop Mount Herzl

Madi, CEO of Mechinat Kerem-El, dedicated his Independence Day torch to the mechina world. Here’s why

31/08/2022 - 13:45

Munir Madi, CEO of Mechinat Kerem-El and a lieutenant colonel in the IDF reserves, lit a torch at this year’s Independence Day ceremony on Mount Herzl. He dedicated it to the students and alumni of his mechina, the mechina world, and the Druze community. We caught up with Munir for a quick talk between rehearsals just before the big event.

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First of all, Munir recalled the moment he found out he’d be lighting a torch. “I was told in a phone call from Minister of Culture and Sports Chili Tropper, along with Moshik Aviv, the director of the [ministry’s] Information Center. They informed me that the committee had chosen me to light a torch. It’s certainly a special and exciting event—a once-in-a-lifetime event. It’s a huge source of pride to get such recognition for all my work.”

An honorable enterprise

“The lighting of the torch,” said Munir, “was dedicated to Mechinat Kerem-El, its students, its alumni, and the whole mechina world. I see the mechina world, with all its internal differences, as an enterprise that is highly deserving of much appreciation and respect. In my opinion, there’s no other educational enterprise of the same magnitude. Anyone who works in this field deserves of a lot of appreciation, and I’m happy to bring it to center stage.”

Mechinat Kerem-El is the Druze mechina, and Munir Madi was one of the minds behind its creation. He previously served for 25 years in a wide variety of command and training positions in the IDF, where he applied himself to improving the position of the Druze community. Munir led Atidim, an IDF project for the advancement of higher education among the Druze, and devised special programs to help young Druze women volunteer for alternative civilian service (sherut leumi). For his efforts, he was presented with a certificate of appreciation from Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Since leaving the army, he’s continued his principled work for the betterment of Israeli society, serving as head of Mechinat Kerem-El and now as CEO.

A mechina of brothers

Looking back at all the positions he’s filled and things he’s done, Munir is especially proud of three things. First of all is the achievement that is Mechinat Kerem-El, which has both Druze and Jewish students. “It was an honor to lead it,” said Munir. “We opened it as a mechina for Druze teenagers. Then we opened it up to Jews too. We call it Mechinat Achim (the Mechina of Brothers): Jews and Druze together.”

Second, Munir lists Atidim, whose goal “was to bridge the gaps in Israeli society. Thanks to that project, academic studies are available to every teenager, regardless of means.”

Third on Munir’s list is helping young Druze women find places in alternative civilian service: “I decided I wanted to help with the initiative, and even though it wasn’t easy, it was worth it. We started with 10 girls. Now about 1,200 girls participate every year.”

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“Go for it”

To wrap up, we asked Munir what message he wanted to share with the students of the mechinot.

“My message,” he said, “for students and also for candidates, is to go for it. I’ve been inside the mechina world for many years, and I’m intimately familiar with its virtues: the frame of mind, the value-adds, and the contribution that the mechinot make to every young person who wants to get ready not only for the army, but also for life.

“More generally—just don’t give yourselves a break. It’s always good to aim as high as you can, to always aspire to excellence. I always write that excellence isn’t a slogan. It’s a way of life. When you believe in it, whatever you do, you’re steering toward leadership, toward first place. If you stick to it, it works. I know it and I live it. On a personal note, I’d like to express my appreciation for everyone at work in the mechina world: the mechina heads, the directors, the staff, and all our partners in this educational enterprise. I offer my most sincere appreciation—and may the excitement continue.”

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