It became apparent some years ago that not all 18 year olds eligible for the army were prepared for the challenges that await them. Mechina programmes were established around Israel to help prepare these students for the army life.
Sixteen years ago the first high school graduates stepped foot in the temporary premises of the ‘Yemin Orde Mechina Pre-Military Leadership Programme for Men’ and four years since a parallel programme for women was formed.
There are over 35 Mechina programmes around Israel, but the Yemin Orde Mechina is the only one that is specifically designed for immigrants of deprived backgrounds and is sensitive to their financial needs. This year an incredible 80 young men and 40 young women have been fortunate to join the programme.
Using successful expertise of educating immigrant children, Yemin Orde established the programme to give the participants the same opportunities as their peers. In Israel it is widely known that if you have a good position in the IDF then you are established for the future. The Mechina programme allows these young men and women who have the drive and passion to succeed, but without prospects or connections to access better positions setting them up for life.
Many immigrants are yet to feel a sense of patriotism towards Israel and the Israeli army yet they are obliged to support the country they now live in. With this in mind the students follow an intensive programme to help them feel welcome and at home. They are given the tools to boost their self esteem and understand that they can make a valuable contribution to the community and Israel and they are capable of becoming leaders in the army and later on in life. Most importantly they feel equal to their Israeli born peers.
The success of the Mechina graduates speaks for itself with over 90% serving in combat positions, 30% in command positions and 7% as officers.