The efforts of the Tavor pre-army "mechina" (preparatory) program have borne fruit. Out of the 20 students who completed the last cycle of the program, four have been accepted into IDF's Air Force flight school, two made it into Shayetet (the Navy Seals) three have been accepted into Sayeret Matkal (a special operations unit), two (including one woman) made it into an elite intelligence unit, and one got into the naval academy.
The mechina was established in 2012 by Amichai Shikli, who is also the program's director, and has become one of the most popular pre-army programs among the 40 registered programs throughout the country. Several dozens of high school students, both boys and girls, are enrolled in each cycle. The demand is extremely high, and the acceptance tests include group interviews theoretical tests and field navigation.
The Tavor program lasts ten months, from September to June, and costs each student NIS 10,000. The program includes theoretical studies, during which the students are exposed to the burning issues on the agenda in Israel, and learn about security, society, economy, religion and the country. A large portion is devoted to Jewish and Zionist identity.
The pre-army program hosts visiting professors and former Shin Bet chiefs, as well as key figures in the communications industry in Israel. The students also partake in social activities, such as providing educational programs for younger teens.
While the emphasis on discipline is not as draconian as it is in basic training or military training courses, it is certainly demanding, including early wake-up calls, 10-kilometer morning runs, lessons in martial arts for the male students, navigation and survival exercises, as well as journeys to get to know the country firsthand.
However, the emphasis in the preparatory studies is placed on the theoretical and moral foundations and focuses less on the physical aspect.
Social Action in Nazareth Illit
Nazareth Illit, with its population of almost 50,000, is a peripheral town both geographically and socially. The population is the oldest in Israel, and its residents include many immigrants from the former USSR, Ethiopia, Caucasian, as well as a sizeable non-Jewish population. Because the city is home to several disadvantaged populations, particular social effort is needed to ensure that the city will be able to continue its development in the future. Tavor can spark an educational-social revolution and this is what it is doing. Mechina students currently operate dozens of various social projects that involve over 250 children and youth every week. Mechina students initiated and spearheaded a lengthy list of unique events and activities that were attended by over 1,500 children and youth.
Read more about the Tavor Mechina at Ynet.