Twenty years ago, under the impact of the shock that gripped the Israeli public following the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, a group of educational leaders decided to establish educational frameworks aimed at producing ethical social leadership that would lead significant change in Israeli society. Today there are 52 Pre-Military Leadership Academies (Mechinot), spread across the country for high school graduates who defer their compulsory military service for a year. Mechinot participants combine educational activities in the community with in-depth study of subjects relating to Jewish and Zionist identity, familiarity with Israel’s' social fabric, its history and geography and mental preparation for becoming involved at decisive junctures in Israeli social and economic systems.
The Joint Council of the Mechinot (JCM) was founded in 2009, serving as an umbrella organization to enable the coordinated performance of ongoing activity representing the Mechinot vis-à-vis the state institutions, pooling resources for projects, and promoting the internalization of visionary values, topics and goals in the various Mechinot, subject to their own visions and goals.
LESHMA - Gender Studies at the Pre-military Leasership Academies (Mechinot)
Yachad Gap Year rationale
As part of the process of educating and cultivating for leadership within the Mechinot, the JCM has decided to build up a close association between Israeli high-school graduates with leadership skills and Diaspora Jews, as the organization considers them to be a reserve resource for Israel's leadership. We consider the endorsement of this goal to be a win-win situation. For the Israeli youngsters this is an opportunity to form a close acquaintance with the their fellow Jews outside Israel, with the conflicts in which they are involved and with their mutual ties of commitment – and this is something we consider to be essential for tomorrow's leaders. For the Jewish youth from abroad it is a unique opportunity uncomparable to any other – that of spending a year with Israelis and becoming closely acquainted with the Israel and Israeli society and examining their bonds with Israel, as Jews living abroad.