The Mechina (gap year)

The Tavor Mechina is one of the most prominent pre-military gap-year programs from among Israel’s 40 registered programs. Tavor targets outstanding youth who have recently graduated high school; teaching them about their Jewish and Zionist intellectual heritage, providing them a comprehensive view of Israeli society and introducing them to a classical education in the humanities.

The students prepare themselves physically and mentally for meaningful military service in the IDF through weeklong trips, hiking, navigating and regular fitness training.

Concurrently, the students run various weekly social activities in Nazareth Illit, Afula and Yokne’am, encompassing 500 children and youth. Thus far, the Mechina has graduated 350 alumni, most of whom are still involved in military service in high-ranking positions in combat, intelligence and education units. In fact, 68% of our graduates serve as commanders and 40% as officers.

Structure of the Mechina year

The Mechina year consists of periods of regular studies and activities, time spent in the field and in academic seminars, as well as active social engagement in Nazareth Illit and the surrounding area.

Academic seminars

Academic seminars

Foreign Affairs and Defense Seminar

A review of the security and diplomatic challenges facing Israel, gaining a deeper familiarity with the Israeli defense establishment and obtaining different perspectives on the various ways of dealing with these challenges. This year the Mechina students met with two former defense ministers, three former IDF chiefs of staff, the deputy head of the Mossad, senior members of the ISA, politicians and various experts in the field.

Seminar on Public Diplomacy and the Struggle against
Israel’s De-legitimization and the BDS movement

Getting to know one of the most significant challenges of our time, understanding the background and key actors for the phenomenon; as well as an in-depth analysis of the accusations directed against Israel to enable a conceptual response and to strengthen the belief in the justice of Zionism in the face of the anti-Semitic hate machine operated by the BDS movement.

Seminar on the Haredi community

Gaining in-depth acquaintance with all the various parts of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox society, the non-Hassidic Haredim, new Hasidim, study in Ponevezh and Mir yeshivas, and hospitality in the homes of ultra- Orthodox families.

Social entrepreneurship seminar

A fascinating encounter with Israel’s leading Third Sector organizations and with leading social entrepreneurs; the seminar is conducted in small groups that cross Israel from north to south to gain first-hand knowledge of a variety of social initiatives and leaders.

Middle East and Arab Society Seminar

A comprehensive review of the emergence of the Middle East and Islam by leading Israeli experts such as Dr. Mordechai Kedar; tours of Arab villages and a meeting with leaders from the Arab sector, who offer different approaches towards integration into the State of Israel.

Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State Seminar

This seminar sums up the Mechina year and examines one of the most formidable questions facing Israel: the question of the balance between the Jewish identity and the democratic identity of the State of Israel.

During the seminar, which is held towards the end of the year, after the participants have acquired in-depth knowledge in the Mechina, they meet with some of the finest experts in the field. This is aimed at bolstering the understanding that although there may be occasional tension between these identities, there is no contradiction between them, as some would argue.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Seminar

A review of the security and diplomatic challenges facing Israel, gaining a deeper familiarity with the Israeli defense establishment and obtaining different perspectives on the various ways of dealing with these challenges. This year the Mechina students met with two former defense ministers, three former IDF chiefs of staff, the deputy head of the Mossad, senior members of the ISA, politicians and various experts in the field.

Seminar on Public Diplomacy and the Struggle against
Israel’s De-legitimization and the BDS movement

Getting to know one of the most significant challenges of our time, understanding the background and key actors for the phenomenon; as well as an in-depth analysis of the accusations directed against Israel to enable a conceptual response and to strengthen the belief in the justice of Zionism in the face of the anti-Semitic hate machine operated by the BDS movement.

Seminar on the Haredi community

Gaining in-depth acquaintance with all the various parts of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox society, the non-Hassidic Haredim, new Hasidim, study in Ponevezh and Mir yeshivas, and hospitality in the homes of ultra- Orthodox families.

Social entrepreneurship seminar

A fascinating encounter with Israel’s leading Third Sector organizations and with leading social entrepreneurs; the seminar is conducted in small groups that cross Israel from north to south to gain first-hand knowledge of a variety of social initiatives and leaders.

Middle East and Arab Society Seminar

A comprehensive review of the emergence of the Middle East and Islam by leading Israeli experts such as Dr. Mordechai Kedar, tours of Arab villages and a meeting with leaders from the Arab sector, who offer different approaches towards integration into the State of Israel.

Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State Seminar

This seminar sums up the Mechina year and examines one of the most formidable questions facing Israel: the question of the balance between the Jewish identity and the democratic identity of the State of Israel.

During the seminar, which is held towards the end of the year, after the participants have acquired in-depth knowledge in the Mechina, they meet with some of the finest experts in the field. This is aimed at bolstering the understanding that although there may be occasional tension between these identities, there is no contradiction between them, as some would argue.

The routine weeks

The routine weeks

This is the cornerstone of the Mechina year. During this time, students enjoy courses and workshops on a variety of subjects, with an emphasis on Judaism, Zionism and leadership. Regular courses include studies in Zionist writings, the defense history of the State of Israel, Beit Midrash (study of the legends of the Sages, Jewish ethics, Hassidism, etc.), social psychology, general history and political philosophy.

During the routine weeks, as well as during seminars, the physical-training routine, which includes running, Krav Maga, etc., continues, as does regular social engagement through volunteering activities in a variety of social settings in Nazareth Illit and the surrounding area including: youth leadership, at-risk youth, children with special needs and large-scale municipal initiatives led by the Mechina.

This is the cornerstone of the Mechina year. During this time, students enjoy courses and workshops on a variety of subjects, with an emphasis on Judaism, Zionism and leadership. Regular courses include studies in Zionist writings, the defense history of the State of Israel, Beit Midrash (study of the legends of the Sages, Jewish ethics, Hassidism, etc.), social psychology, general history and political philosophy.

During the routine weeks, as well as during seminars, the physical-training routine, which includes running, Krav Maga, etc., continues, as does regular social engagement through volunteering activities in a variety of social settings in Nazareth Illit and the surrounding area including: youth leadership, at-risk youth, children with special needs and large-scale municipal initiatives led by the Mechina.

Field Activities

Field Activities

Five navigation-training sets at increasing levels of difficulty are held in different locations all over the country; at the conclusion of which each Mechina student is able to navigate 10 kilometers at night without the help of a map.

The purpose of the training sets is to deepen the students’ connection to the land with their own two feet, to build up physical and mental stamina, to deepen the bonds between the students based on a joint challenging experience and to help prepare the groundwork for meaningful service and command in the IDF.

Five navigation-training sets at increasing levels of difficulty are held in different locations all over the country; at the conclusion of which each Mechina student is able to navigate 10 kilometers at night without the help of a map.

The purpose of the training sets is to deepen the students’ connection to the land with their own two feet, to build up physical and mental stamina, to deepen the bonds between the students based on a joint challenging experience and to help prepare the groundwork for meaningful service and command in the IDF.

Tavor’s Core programs

Keshet

The Keshet young leadership program for high school students grades 10-12.

Mechinat Tavor

The Mechina – Tavor’s premilitary
academy for high school graduates.

Machon Tavor

Tavor Institute for IDF commanders.