Today is the International Youth Day. This is a great opportunity to see what kind of Youth Movements we have here in Israel. Some of them help shape the future leaders of this country.
Israel has many youth movements, some are International like the Scouts and some are religion-oriented like Ariel or Bnei Akiva, and some are even army-oriented like the Gadna.
We decided to introduce you to some of the main youth movements here in Israel, just so you get a picture of what goes on here.
The Tzofim is the biggest youth movement in Israel. With over 100,000 members, that's no big surprise. The Tzofim isn't associated with any political party or movement, so you can find kids from all kinds of different backgrounds. An interesting fact about the Israeli Tzofim - It's Honorary President is the actual President of Israel, and the official president is the head of the Education Office. That's pretty serious stuff if you ask us. The Tzofim is actually a federation that includes 6 different Scouts groups: The Hebrew Scouts, The Druze, and four different Arab groups.
Hebrew Scouts uniform
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus has led to many cutbacks in the movement's funding, and its future doesn't seem too bright at the moment. Hopefully, everything will be ok, and we will continue to see Tzofim-grown future leaders of Israel.
K'nafayim Shel Krembo
K'nafayim is an amazing voluntary youth movement that helps and integrates special needs kids. The amazing program even received recognition from the UN. K'nafayim was established in 2002 by Adi Altshuler, an educated and social entrepreneur, who was only 16 years old at the time!
The program has 75 branches spread out across the country, with over 6,500 kid members. Around 1,200 of them are special needs kids, and over 5,000 are volunteer members and mentors. Absolutely amazing, don't you think?
There are several Jewish Orthodox movements in Israel, like Bnei Akiva which you probably know. Ezra was the first National Torani Youth Movement in Israel, established towards the end of the First World War, in 1919. Ezra has 65 branches, and around 20,000 members all across the country.
Just in case you were wondering how strong the military culture is here in Israel, you can tell by some of the Youth Movements. the Gadna was a youth movement that belonged to the Hagana before the state of Israel was established, where it mentored and trained the youth to become future soldiers in the military underground groups. The Gadna still trains youth for their future military service to this day, in all sorts of different educational ways, and in different army branches as well, such as the Air Force Gadna, the Navy Gadna, and many more. A lot of the great IDF generals and politicians are Gadna alumni, maybe you will be the next one?
Mada, Magen David Adom, is Israel's National Emergency Medical Service. As you can probably understand by its name, the Mada Youth is a humanitarian youth movement, that belongs to Mada, and it encourages the youth to help in saving lives and to volunteer in the communities in humanitarian ways. It is the equivalent to the Red Cross youth movements, maybe that will make it more clear for you. All of the Mada Youth members are between the ages 15-18, and they are trained as First Aid givers on the ambulances, they help teach First Aid in the schools, and help spread the word in many other ways. Keep up the good work!
Of course, these are only several examples of the great Youth Movements here in Israel. There are over 45 official movements in Israel and probably much more. They are an integral part of the Israeli youth's upbringing and play a major role in shaping the future of Israeli society. We hope to see them continuing to grow!