Daily Israel Report

Youth Movements - the Real Social Networks

The Education Ministry's “youth movement week” highlights getting students together as a replacement for social networks such as Facebook.
By Elad Benari & Yishai Karov
First Publish: 10/29/2012, 11:43 PM

Education Minister Sa'ar with youth movements
Education Minister Sa'ar with youth movements
Education Ministry

The Education Ministry held last week its “youth movement week”, aimed at making students aware of the many youth movements that exist in Israel and bringing them closer to these movements.

Representatives of all the major youth movements in Israel took part in the week’s activities, highlighting the importance of getting students together for a variety of activities at a time when social networks such as Facebook usually keep students at home.

Education Minister Gidon Sa’ar, who initiated youth movement week and attended activities in honor of it in Netanya, said that "youth movements have a significant impact on children and youth. The activities in the youth movements turn the children into more caring and considerate individuals. Participation in a youth movement intensifies the contribution to society and reduces the effects of violence."

Sa’ar added that the Ministry of Education has begun implementing a new program to strengthen youth movements in the periphery. The program, which costs 20 million shekels, will allow for new branches of youth movements to open in the periphery, increase the number of students, increase subsidies for students and support children with special needs.

He noted that there is broad activity of various youth movements across the country and said this should continue and be expanded. “If there will be more members in youth movements, we will be a more ethical and less violent society,” said Sa’ar.

“I think that the youth movements are gaining strength,” Danny Hirschberg, Director General of Bnei Akiva, told Arutz Sheva. “The fact that the Ministry of Education holds, during the school year, a youth movement week, and the statement that the youth movements and the educational institutions are on the same wavelength is a correct and positive statement.”

Gal Ben Shimol, Director of Tzofim, noted that youth movements are more relevant and more important than ever.

“If you ask me,” he told Arutz Sheva, “the purpose of the youth movements in the era of technology and Facebook is to be the real, physical social network, one in which children meet and talk about values and volunteer.”

Tamar Tanenbaum, Secretary-General of Beitar, also highlighted the importance of having the youth movements replace online social networking.

“We do use Facebook and invite friends to our activities, but there are real live activities and youth come to the movement because they are looking for something meaningful, more than sitting at home in front of the computer,” she said.

“Youth are looking oo lead, to guide, to change the country, to change what’s happening here, and these guys are much better than the people who established the State,” she added.