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Fostering the next generation of Israeli leaders

The existence of the State of Israel is a remarkable and historical achievement that Jews must cherish and preserve. One of the most important things we can do to secure Israel’s future is to invest in the education of our brightest young minds, and encourage them to assume leadership roles in politics, academia and administration. Those teens must meet the challenges of the future armed with a deep sense of identity, broad knowledge, and relevant skills. It is their future task to secure Israel’s future, and by extension the future of the Jewish people. 

Raising such leaders means providing our youth a strong sense of who they are. It means they must receive a strong and rigorous education, both in the classroom and beyond. It means ensuring they receive relevant tools for a world that is ever changing. Most importantly, it means teaching them the values of our people, particularly the Unity of Israel (Ahdut Yisrael).

The connection between Israeli youth and their peers around the world is necessary to establish unity. By engaging each other, those young boys and girls create a powerful sense of solidarity, ultimately binding their own fate and prosperity with that of their peers in a bond that transcends culture and geography.  

Today, as Western societies experience a worrisome revival in antisemitism, it is more important than ever for Jews to discover each other and develop a keen sense of togetherness and purpose, through which we could defend and advance each other.

The vision of unity among Jews, which is borne out our genesis as a people, requires leadership. It is vital for Jews to raise a youth who is independent, engages in critical thinking, and can explore and adapt its ancient identity to the modern world. I believe the following measures are necessary to foster such future leadership:

First, the current Israeli leadership should work to create more inclusive policies and initiatives for the needs and interests of diaspora Jews. This includes but is not limited to promoting Aliyah and facilitating the integration of new immigrants, as well as engaging with diaspora communities on issues that concern them.

Second, it is important for Israel’s educational institutions to incorporate a curriculum heavily focused on Jewish heritage and the significance of the connection between Israel and the Jewish diaspora.

Third, increase the opportunities for Israeli youth to engage with their peers through programs such as exchange trips and youth movements. This can help foster a sense of connection and solidarity between them and make them see themselves as part of a global community of Jews. Such engagement should emphasize individual and communal experiences and perspectives that can help future leaders identify and broaden commonalities between Israelis and diaspora Jews.

By giving our future leaders a strong sense of belonging to a broader Jewish community on the one hand, while creating opportunities for them to engage with their peers around the world through inclusive policies and initiatives on the other hand, we will foster in them a sense of solidarity and connection with Jews everywhere.

It is not out of step to say that our future generation is facing a world much different than our own. It is our duty to equip them with the identity and skill necessary to meet those challenges and overcome them. The future is not yet written, but our actions today can shape it beyond our years, as does our inaction. Let us act today.

About the Author
Oded Stein is the head of the pre-military leadership academy (Mechina) Upper Galilee.
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