Jeff, Lori, Lisa and James along with their children witnessed and experienced firsthand the power of this special connection between Dallas and Western Galilee made possible by Partnership2Gether. They included in their itinerary a visit to a high school in Akko. There, the visitors along with representatives of the Partnership encountered the Aharai Association, whose activities the Partnership has supported for six years and running.

Western Galilee in Israel is one of the country's most beautiful regions, with mountainous green spaces bordering on a magnificent view of the sea. It is situated far from the bustling city – perfect for inhabitants for whom the option to enjoy quiet surroundings after a day's work is important. Like any other peripheral region in the world, Western Galilee has only a fraction of the opportunities that the city has to offer. Various associations and projects in the region provide the required boost to local youths in order to begin their lives on equal footing with their city-dwelling peers.

The Dallas–Western Galilee Partnership regularly assists these associations in changing the lives of hundreds of youths and seeing them fulfill their potentials.

The Aaron family of Dallas, accompanied by their friends, arrived last week to Israel and chose to visit the Partnership region in Western Galilee. They wanted to enjoy an authentic experience in Israel—beyond the familiar tourist attractions that visitors typically flock to.

Jeff, Lori, Lisa and James along with their children witnessed and experienced firsthand the power of this special connection between Dallas and Western Galilee made possible by Partnership2Gether. They included in their itinerary a visit to a high school in Akko. There, the visitors along with representatives of the Partnership encountered the Aharai Association, whose activities the Partnership has supported for six years and running.

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For 20 years, the Aharai Association has conducted multiple projects aimed at encouraging significant army service. This is based on the understanding that military service in Israel constitutes a key springboard into Israeli society. As is commonly known, military conscription in Israel is compulsory for all 18 year-olds and is an integral part of the maturation process and a pathway to the community.

 

The Aharai Association believes that when young people enlist in the army with a sense of mission and responsibility to the State of Israel, they necessarily become involved and contributing citizens who take responsibility for themselves and their surroundings. Thus Aharai works to build the next generation so that today's young people can become a positive force in society and influence the country's future.

Once a week in the afternoon, Aharai trainees meet with their instructor. All Aharai instructors have previous command experience in the IDF, with most having participated in Aharai prior to their military service.

The groups engage in exercises that simulate basic training and also take part in workshops that combine thinking skills and teamwork. Throughout their activities (and without noticing it!), the trainees learn how to lead and work in harmony with others and how to overcome multiple psychological barriers. Twice a year they take part in special field maneuvers that last several days, all spent outdoors in the field while tackling challenging group task such as navigating the wilderness or trudging through a grueling long-distance 'stretcher' relay. During the maneuvers the trainees also get to meet soldiers from various IDF units.

For six years the Western Galilee–Dallas Partnership has assisted the Aharai Association in fulfilling its goals and setting numerous young Israelis on positive life paths. Many of them say that Aharai has changed their lives, significantly increased their self-confidence, gave them a boosted sense of competency, and led them to fulfilling their potentials. Most even swear that they wouldn't be where they are today without the assistance of the Aharai Association.

"In the past I was a shy and closed person. Aharai led me to believe in myself. Thanks to the activities that I took part in, I enlisted with the Givati Special Forces, one of the IDF's most elite units. My military service was very difficult, but I learned to deal with the difficulties and felt myself growing stronger. After my release from the army I returned to Aharai as an instructor—with the intention of giving of myself to help those same bashful kids so that they too can believe in themselves and go on to do amazing things. At the same time I am concluding my studies in civil engineering at the Technion Institute. This too I owe to Aharai, because they helped me overcome my fears and strive for excellence. If not for Aharai, I would never have served such meaningful army service. The program gave me amazing tools for life."

~ Arthur – Aharai alumnus and instructor

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In their close-up encounter with Aharai, our guests didn’t pass up on the opportunity to train like IDF soldiers and actually took part in the group's activity. Led by instructor Arthur, they ran together and worked up a good sweat together with the other 15 Israelis of the group.

 

 

 

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07 Jul 2019 / 4 Tamuz 5779 0