Amicgai students atop Masada
Amicgai students atop MasadaAmichai Academy

Dozens of students at the Amichai pre-military academy in Kibbutz Kramim, near Be'er Sheva, relived history over Hanukkah with a four-day hike from their school to the top of Masada. With the hike, the students followed in the path of the fighters of the Palmach, the “fighting brigades” of the Haganah that fought several important and fierce battles as Jews fought to establish the State of Israel during the 1940s.

The students of the pre-military academy, which includes both religious and secular students, hiked for 70 kilometers (42 miles) during their four-day adventure. During the hike students were exposed to important milestones left behind by Palmach fighters who had hiked the same paths, and learned about the history of pre-state Israel.

At the end of the hike, many of the parents of the students accompanied them up the last leg of the march, to the top of Masada, where an emotional ceremony took place.

Established in 2000, the Amichai pre-military academy is unique among such institutions in Israel as it is one of the few to integrate religious and secular students, and is open to new immigrants and individuals who make aliyah without their families. The academy is funded by the Israeli government and the World Zionist Organization.