Many sectors of Israeli society are often overlooked or neglected, the Bedouin community being one of them. But, reports The Times of Israel's Judah Ari Gross, a Fellowship-supported IDF-prep program is now helping young people from Bedouin society not only prepare to serve their country, Israel, but to equip them for a successful and productive life as citizens of the Jewish state:
The first class of an army preparatory program for members of the Bedouin community graduated this week, with its 15 members bound for enlistment better equipped to handle the challenges awaiting them, participants said.
Up until last year, Israel had 55 pre-army programs, known in Hebrew as mechinot (mechina, in the singular), geared toward Jewish Israelis and three for the Druze community, but none for the country’s Bedouin population, according to Tal Galin, the head of the new Academy for Bedouin Leadership in the Galilee.
There had been attempts to create a program for the Bedouin community over the years, but all fell flat until now, Galin says.
The program was started by the Ma’ase Center Association, an offshoot of the Rashi Foundation, which runs initiatives mostly in Israel’s farther-flung and generally poorer cities, referred to collectively as the “periphery.” It also received assistance from the Defense and Education ministries, the IDF, the forum of Bedouin regional councils, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews...
While many Israelis enlist in the IDF straight away after high school, some opt to enter these preparatory programs to both mature and to learn the skills necessary to succeed in the military and in life.
“If someone [in Hebrew] used to ask me my name, I would freeze up. The mechina gave me self-confidence, responsibility and concern,” says Mustafa Hujerat, from Bir al-Maksur, in the Galilee.
“Now I care for my friends. If someone’s sick, I’ll bring them food,” he says.
“Like you did for me,” interrupts Swaeed...