Arava will instill the values of Judaism and Zionism, contribution to the State and the community, working the land, preserving the environment, meaningful service in the IDF, humanism and equality and respect for all. The Academy will help to develop leadership possessed of social ethics and human sensitivity, leadership which first and foremost leads by personal example, putting words into practice.
The Academy is aimed at 18 year old Israelis who have completed their high school studies and are interested in postponing their Army service for one year in order to spend that time at an Academy, during which time they will study intensively, volunteer in the community, hike around Israel, prepare themselves for meaningful service in the Army and will work in agriculture. The Academy runs for about 10 months of the year, from the beginning of September until the end of June. Establishment of the Academy in the Arava was initiated by the second generation of the original settlers of the region. The underlying concept for establishment of the Academy in the Arava is based upon three main elements:
1. The challenges facing Israeli society at the beginning of the 21st
2. The opportunity to educate surrounded by the landscape of the
Arava, the pioneering atmosphere, the peace and quiet of the
region and the special people who live in the Arava
3. The age of 18 in Israeli society provides an exceptional window
of opportunity on the path to development of young people in
Israel (usually taken up by army service, travel, studies,
establishment of families)
There are six main fields on which we focus in the Academy:
Studies – the students’ studies include about 10 regular weekly courses on the following subjects: Judaism, Zionism, philosophy, Israeli society, agriculture and preparation for service in the IDF. The students do not receive any type of certificate for these studies; they study simply for the purpose of studying, to develop their knowledge, thoughts and souls.
Contribution to the community – throughout the year the students volunteer regularly in two main areas: the Big Brother project, in which each student at the Academy mentors a child from the region, and by working in groups with youth at risk outside the Arava region, including the emotionally disturbed and new immigrants.
Preparation for Army service – the students receive one weekly lesson on the subject and three physical training sessions each week.
Agricultural work – the students work for farmers in the region, sometimes for a regular series of days, and sometimes for single days only where necessary.
Geography – the Academy’s annual schedule includes trips all around the country and the students learn about our beautiful country “through their feet”.
Living as a group – the students are all part of a group which sets norms and rules for itself as part of the bonding process of the group, and for living communally in a meaningful value-based manner. The students live on the Academy campus on Moshav Hazeva, and spend every other weekend at their own homes. The students come from all over Israel, from cities, moshavs and kibbutz; some are religious, some follow traditional Judaism and some are secular. Beginning in the third year some 40 students will study at the Academy during each year. At the end of the year at the Academy students begin their Army service.