The Youth Movements

Youth movements in Israel today are an extensive, organized phenomenon. They are the largest organized group in the informal education system in Israel. Some 250,000 young people, around Israel and from all walks of political and social life, are members of the youth movements.

Social and political developments strengthen the movements’ core of existence as educators and are the reason for the importance of the movements' activities concerning political education and the good citizenship of the youth who are the future of the country.

The movements are voluntary. The youth members are involved in the development of leadership, social activities, trips, tours and camps. They contribute to the community in various social fields such as absorption of immigrants, assisting different types of populations, maintaining the quality of environment, coexistence and much more.

Youth movements in Eretz Israel - Palestine began to organize in the 1920s. They stressed togetherness, pioneering and personal fulfillment, especially on the kibbutz. They played an important role in the history of the Zionist Movement. Practically speaking, they were the builders of the kibbutz movement. Their special inner strength became apparent, tragically, during the Holocaust. They remained active throughout this catastrophe, and their leaders orchestrated Jewish organization and resistance in ghettoes and camps. Most of the surviving members eventually moved to Israel.

Most of the movements were affiliated with political entities. Only the Scouts movement defined itself as nonpartisan, but it also educated its members in a national pioneering spirit and established agricultural training groups that founded their own kibbutzim.

Over the past two decades, the social scale of values of Israeli society has changed, and to some extent, the competitive and materialistic climate has crowded out the pioneering ideals and romanticism of the youth movements. They have, however, continued to cope with social change and are attempting to adjust to changing goals.

The SOH collection is featuring 4 stamps dedicated to the Youth Movements. One stamp is dedicated to the movements in general and the rest three to each of the largest secular movements.

Displayed with this article are the stamps “Youth Movements in Israel” (issued 2001, design: Rani Radzeli) and “Hashomer Hatzair Movement Centennial” (issued 2013, design: Meir Eshel).

Displayed with with the preceding Hebrew article are the stamps “Centenary of World Scouting” (issued 2007, design: Sechter Hadar) and “Ha’no’ar Ha’oved Ve’halomed 50th Anniversary” (issued 1974, design: M. Pereg).

Following are more details about each of the mentioned above movements.

Hatzofim (Scouts)
The movement was founded in Eretz Israel - Palestine in 1919 in accordance with the views of Baden-Powell, the founder of World Scouting. It is affiliated with the World Organization of Scout Movements. The movement educates towards allegiance to Jewish spiritual values and culture and personal fulfillment of Zionist ideals. It was the first egalitarian Scouting movement in the world, where boys and girls participate together on an equal basis. More than 20 Kibbutzim have been established over the years by graduates of the Tzofim.

The number of active Jewish Tzofim today in Israel is about 60,000 (affiliated Scout movements operate in the Arab and the Druse sectors). There are over 160 tribes (troops) in almost 100 cities, towns, moshavim and kibbutzim. Over 1/3 of the Tzofim tribes are located in development towns and challenged neighborhoods.

In the past year, over 600 Tzofim volunteered to defer their military service by a year in order to volunteer in 54 unique 'gar’inim' (core groups) throughout the country, most of which are located in development towns, challenged neighborhoods, and locations with large numbers of new immigrants. These garinim reach over 50,000 youth every year, providing special services above and beyond regular scouting activities. Thousands of new olim, children from single parent families, and youth with special needs receive educational and cultural assistance through over 1,000 free extracurricular activities run by the members of the gar’inim.

Over 1,500 youth in the United States participate in weekly activities of Tzofim Tzabar, the Tzofim branch in the United States, which works with Hebrew speaking youth, offering Tzofim activities very similar to those in Israel. Over the past 5 years over 120 youth from the United States and Canada, whose families originated in Israel, have returned to Israel through Tzofim Garin Tzabar in which they are reabsorbed into Israeli society and complete their military service, while receiving ongoing help and guidance from Tzofim counselors.

During the past 5 years, the Tzofim have received over 10 national awards for their activities, including the Prime Minister Award for work with youth with special needs, and the Charles Clore award in honor of the Israel Jubilee which was given to Garin Re'im as the outstanding volunteer project in Israel over the first 50 years of the State.

Ha’no’ar Ha’oved Ve’halomed
Ha’no’ar Ha’oved was established in 1924 by the Histadrut (General Federation of Jewish Labor). It aimed to meet the cultural, social and economic needs of youth while emphasizing the spirit of pioneering achievement and active participation in a working society.

The movement established night schools and labor bureaus for working youth. Most of its instructors came from kibbutzim, and the movement established its first kibbutz, Na'an, in 1933. Its members were founding members of dozens of additional kibbutzim. Hanoar Ha'oved merged with the Habonim union in 1959, and together they established Ha'no'ar Ha'oved Ve'halomed (Working and Studying Youth).

An educational mainstay of the movement is the service year: twelfth grade graduates who postpone their military service and live as a group in development towns and cities. Members of these groups volunteer in informal educational activities in the movement's centers, community centers, youth clubs, immigration absorption centers, and work closely with schools, etc.

Graduates of the service year continue their common path into the military, as a 'gar’in' (core group) in the Nahal (Pioneering and Fighting Youth), the branch of the military that has set itself social mission and security-oriented goal.

The Labor Union for Youth is the organization that is the legal representative of working young people in Israel. It deals with the organization, education, professional accompaniment, defense of rights, health and welfare of working youth. The labor union maintains a professional training network in cooperation with public and governmental instituets. The movement is active among thousands of young men and young women who have dropped out of the learning and work cycle, and operates learning centers and schools as part of the technological-educational network that was founded to provide an answer to the special needs of these youngsters. Including the registered members of The Labor Union for Youth, Ha'no'ar Ha'oved Ve'ha'lomed today comprises some 100,000 members.

International Habonim Dror is the movement’s sister organization.

Hashomer Hatzair
The Hashomer Hatzair Movement, the first Zionist youth movement, and arguably the first Jewish youth movement, marked its 100th anniversary in 2013. Tens of thousands of its graduates have made Aliya to Israel, established its kibbutzim and, over the years, played key roles in Israel’s national leadership through the Mapam (United Workers) party.

The Movement was founded in Galicia, Poland in 1913, expanding from there to other countries in the Diaspora. During WW-II it continued to operate in the educational realm. Later, it successfully established a widespread underground newspaper network and from 1942 onward, was among the leaders of the Jewish Resistance in the ghettos.

In the summer of 1942 Hashomer Hatzair was one of the founders of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB) in Warsaw. Hashomer Hatzair member Mordechai Anielewicz was the commander of the Ghetto Warsaw uprising.
In 1927, Hashomer Hatzair graduates who had immigrated to Eretz Israel founded the Kibbutz Artzi Federation.

Today, the Hashomer Hatzair Movement operates in numerous different realms of life as it continues its perpetual Zionist endeavors: The youth movement in Israel has 66 branches and thousands of young members; the worldwide youth movement currently has 42 branches in 21 different countries; dozens of kibbutzim; a movement of graduates with 300 members who live in communes and urban kibbutzim throughout Israel and work in education, which they see as the modern mode of “pioneering.

For 100 years the key principles of the Hashomer Hatzair Movement have consistently been Zionism, socialism and peace among nations. These values are the essence of the Movement, both as a youth movement and as a pioneering and land settling movement.

Based on an article by Itay Zaidenberg, Director General, Hashomer Hatzair.

The stamp features the blue shirt with the white string representative of the Hashomer Hatzair uniform.