The Landmarks Organization is a social, pluralistic movement focused on the values of Judaism, Zionism, and democracy. The movement works to strengthen an active civil society in Israel through mobilizing groups of student activists throughout the country. We believe that a young, civically engaged
"Katif Israeli" is a students' summer program conducted by the "Tziyonei Derech" organization ("Landmarks") in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Students' Association. The program was initiated in order to address the huge shortage of labor in Israel's agricultural industry, by recruiting students from all over Israel to work in the fields during their summer vacation.
The students are assigned to dozens of farmers across the country where, during the day, they perform such tasks as harvesting, pruning, picking, and plowing, and in the evening they participate in educational program which, by means of textual study, seminars and tours, enables them to gain a deeper knowledge of Zionism, Judaism and environment. Upon returning to their campuses the student groups are equipped to complement their educational program with social activism.
At the conclusion of the season the students receive a 3,000 stipend from the Ministry of Agriculture, in addition to their salary.
The educational program was founded in light of growing trends towards radicalization in Israeli society and the appropriation of Jewish and Zionist values by a small sector in the Israeli society. The educational philosophy is based upon an open and pluralistic reading of fundamental texts upon which Israel was founded, and which are major assets for its society.
The program creates a situation where there is benefit for the farmer, who desperately needs manpower, as well for the student, who gains an honorable livelihood along with valuable and significant experience. In the past, farmers were skeptical of the ability of young Israelis to work diligently. Now that the program has been operating for three years we are witnessing a process of regaining trust of those young men and women.
The intensive communal agricultural work and the joint study provide an opportunity to create a team spirit and strong social ties, which enable the formation of cohesive student groups on campuses. The "landmarks" Movement mentors and guides the graduates groups in their diverse social actions upon returning to their respective campuses. In addition, with the understanding that knowledge leads to more accurate and substantial action, the Movement maintains pluralistic Batei-Midrash (study halls) on various campuses, where the core issues of Israeli society are constantly being examined.
Today, the graduates of "Katif Israeli" in Haifa, Be'er Sheva and Jerusalem are inaugurating important social projects such as guiding and mentoring Bedouin students, and establishing consumers' cooperative grocery aimed at lowering the cost of living.
A picture is worth a thousand words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZvVS9CifV0
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