Be’Artzeinu, the Mechina Alumni Community-Building Project, serves an important function in introducing young mechina (pre-military leadership academy) alumni to the community-building movement and creating opportunities for making a home in Israel’s periphery. Together with KKL, which last month released Israel 2040, a vision for the Israel of tomorrow, Be’Artzeinu aspires to turn the modern movement to build up Israel into a phenomenon in which hundreds and thousands of young people move to the communities of the Negev and Galilee and boost young leadership and activism in those areas.
This is what brought Be’Artzeinu to this year’s News 12 Influencers Conference in Tel Aviv last month. In a panel discussion on Relocation for Community-Building led by southern Israel news correspondent Tamir Steinman, Be’Artzeinu CEO Tali Arnolf told about her classmates from mechina who made homes in Haifa’s Hadar neighborhood a decade ago, becoming the vanguard of a stream of young people that changed the face of the area. In comments on moving to the periphery, she said: “If we think about how we want our children to grow up in Israeli society, we need to put the Negev and the Galilee back in the center. It’s necessary to continue the current efforts of the national government, KKL, and regional councils, to double down on them, and to go back to a discourse based on values, because without that, there won’t be any real change.”