Fes-Israel’s Visit to the Emda Program for Leaders of Pre-military Academies

Not all Israelis join the military immediately after school. In so-called “premilitary programs,” some young school graduates complete a voluntary year after high school before being drafted into the army.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel, in cooperation with the Yigal Alon Center, the World Zionist Organization and the Joint Council of Pre-Military Academies, supports a program dedicated to the leaders of these academies.

Due to the terrible events of October 7th and the resulting war, the 14 participants in what is now the 8th Emda program, have only been able to meet in person once, namely at the opening meeting in September 2023. Since then, the training has only taken place via Zoom, and also this under unusual circumstances (almost all participants were at least sporadically drafted into IDF reserve service).

A two-day workshop in Beit Berl, which the head of the FES Israel office, Ralf Melzer, and the responsible program manager Micky Drill were able to attend on March 31th, offered an important opportunity to bring the highly committed colleagues together to discuss and exchange experiences and shared values of social democracy. First and foremost, however, most conversations dealt with the numerous challenges that the war brought with it for the heads of the academies.

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