The Gadna Avir, the Youth Movement of the Israel Air Force (IAF) Corps, brings out the best in Jewish youth and attracts the most promising youth – tomorrow’s leaders – to the Israel Air Force and to the country at large.
Israelis facing a new generation of critical challenges. Many youngsters today, the soldiers and pilots, the leaders of tomorrow, are growing up in a more economically developed Israel, and thus many do not feel the same drive and obligation to serve and excel for their country as did the founding generations of their parents and grandparents. There is a growing detachment from elemental Zionist values and morals. These young people are blessed with a prospering country where heroes are hi-tech innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders, and not necessarily those who still recognize the need for national service and sacrifice for their country.
As a result, the number of army recruits who volunteer for special units continues to decline, while the number of those seeking to avoid military services continues to rise. Unfortunately, as the values and priorities of the youth have shifted, though the existential threat to the security of the State of Israel continues, indeed to grow. Furthermore, we are experiencing a decline in motivation and readiness of today’s Israeli youth to volunteer, assume responsibility and care for their own community, including for those who are generally in need.
Israel Air Force Youth Corp Program – Historic Background
The Israel Air Force Youth Corps Program instills in Israeli youth the same motivation and commitment to excellence that their grandparents and parents had when they founded and protected the modern State over the past 64 years.
This unique Israel Air Force unit was established in 1950 and has since become the Israel Air Force’s main dynamic link with the promising youth throughout the country, particularly in underprivileged and remote communities. As the only youth movement in the country dedicated to the involvement in and promotion of aviation-related issues, the unit attracted youth enthusiasts of the time; many of former and current IAF personnel, as well as various IAF Commanders are graduates of this youth movement. Due to budget constraints and the notion that the country is now developed and established, it was decided in the late 1980’s to close this military unit and end its activities around the country.
In 2008, following a thorough survey to examine Israeli youth interests and needs, it was recommended that this unique unit be re-established as a joint venture together with the IAF Center.
The IAF Youth Corp Activities
The Israel Air Force Youth Corp program provides inspiration, counseling, training and grooming for elite units in the Israel Army, and in particular for service in the Israel Air Force. More importantly, the newly established unit with its new framework and curricula, created with theIAFCenterteam and in cooperation of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Defense, encompasses a much broader spectrum of objectives than in the past.
Starting from age 14 the youth recruited to join the IAF Youth Corp activities are exposed to aviation and space studies as well as to the Israel Air Force heritage and legacy. As their minds expand and their interest grows they are exposed to studies in science, technology, mathematics and physics.
The framework of the youth movement will include the following activities:
a) Weekly lessons in aviation, aeronautics and space-related topics which will be conducted within schools.
b) Monthly, one-day seminars at the IAF Center which will be dedicated to subjects such as responsibility, patience and tolerance, determination, value in volunteerism, national service, and giving to one’s community.
At the end of each school year the students who excel in the activities will be invited for a three-day concluding seminar which will take place at the IAF Center and at the IAF Technical College in Haifa. The three days will include lectures, exercises, visits to an air base squadron, and visits to the IAF “Iron Dome” air defense unit. The highlight of the seminar will be a gliding flight training experience.
The IAF youth movement is operated by a special IAF unit (with officers and soldiers specially trained to work with youth) and is operated in full partnership with the IAF Center.
IAF Youth Corp at the IAF Center
There is no better home for the IAF Youth Corps Program than the Israel Air Force Center. The Center exposes these dedicated youngsters and Israeli society to the excellence of the Air Force, while providing crucial civilian programs to support the Air Force.
The IAF Youth Corps Program matches this mission exactly, as it leverages the excellence of the Air Force to inspire the youth, while providing a critical civilian grooming program to support the country at large.
TheIAFCenterwill offer a much needed base to organize the community divisions, host national gatherings, train unit officers, and provide a functional hub. The IAF Youth Corp unit would join the three civilian-related IAF units already housed in theIAFCenter.
With your help, The IAF Center will run, expand and grow the IAF Youth Corp Program. TheIAFCenterwill reinforce and strengthen programs with youth in development towns and underprivileged communities, lifting their spirits and realizing their potential. TheIAFCenterwill work to expand the program internationally, connecting youth around the world to the mighty Israel Air Force, while instilling values of leadership, excellence and contribution to society.
The IAF Center Foundation is seeking a contribution of $75,000 annually, which will provide the Israel Air Force with its most valuable resource for the next generation – the future technicians and engineering personnel. Your support will contribute directly to the future pride and safety of the State of Israel and the Jewish Nation.
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