Allonim: A Network of Leadership Academies for a Shared Soci...
Allonim: A Network of Leadership Academies for a Shared Society
At a time when Israeli youth rarely meet their peers in other ethnic-religious groups, Allonim offers a unique opportunity to develop true long-term relationship based in mutual understanding and respect. The residential leadership program lasts seven months and pairs Arab and Jewish Israeli high school graduates to develop a new generation of leadership for a shared society. The students live together and develop leadership skills in an inter-group setting. In October 2018 three academies opened:
- Kinneret: located in Beit Zera, just south of the sea of Galilee, is a collaboration with the Christian-Aramaic association and is composed of 50% Jewish and 50% Christian youth.
- Julis: located in the village of Julis in the western Galilee, is a collaboration with Amirim and Kfaron and is composed of 50% Jewish and 50% Druze youth.
- Hardoof: located in kibbutz Hardoof in the western Galilee, is a collaboration with Sha'ar laAdam and is composed of 50% Jewish and 50% Bedouin youth.
In recent years dozens of leadership academies have been identifying leadership potential among Jewish high school graduates and offering them intense residential programs in the year prior to their military service. The goal of these programs is to develop young leaders committed to serve their community and Israeli society. Participants develop leadership skills and prepare for military service. According to the Knesset’s Research and Information Center, over 4,000 students attended a leadership academy in 2017-2018. That number has more than doubled in the last decade. Moreover, according to the same research, the graduates of leadership academies are twice as likely to serve as officers in the IDF. However, young Arab Israeli citizens are not afforded similar opportunities to develop their leadership skills and discuss their Israeli and ethno-religious identity. This further restricts their social mobility. Since Arab-Israelis represent twenty percent of Israeli society, it is crucial that the Arab community develops young leadership with an understanding of its stake in Israeli society and a commitment to serve its community. Allonim’s leadership academies are composed of half Jewish students and half from other ethno-religious backgrounds. The program invests an equal amount of time exploring particular group identities and building a strong Israeli identity based in shared values such as democracy, pluralism, and religious freedom. In addition to the academic curriculum, the students volunteer two days a week in the community. The Allonim alumni network department will follow the program’s graduates throughout their military or public service and beyond. It will offer alumni regular workshops and seminars based on their particular interests and leadership skills. This unique model integrating Arabs and Jews in a residential leadership program allows young Israelis to explore their particular identity, learn about others, and build together a better Israel. The social network of Allonim graduates will improve the social mobility of Israel’s minorities and raise new leadership for a shared society.