Updated: Mar 10
Dror Israel’s network of high schools for youth at-risk organized a two-day conference for one hundred students, providing students with a platform to discuss the complex social issues that have been affecting the country in recent weeks and to explore ways in which they can take action.
Amidst Israel’s political turmoil, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets in protest, many teenagers feel overlooked. Too young to vote, but aware of and impacted by political decisions, they often struggle to find a place to voice their opinions and to engage in a serious way with current issues. The Dror Israel high school seminar inspired them to not only make their voices heard, but to value their unique role as young leaders.
During the seminar, the students engaged in thought-provoking discussions and debates, sharing their personal experiences and perceptions about various issues, including the reform of the justice system, attacks, incitement, and violence. The seminar also provided a space for students to reflect on their role as teenagers among the many voices being heard in society.
The seminar was particularly impactful as it brought together students from different parts of the country, each with unique backgrounds and perspectives. This enabled the students to learn from each other and gain a deeper understanding of the issues they were discussing.
At the end of the seminar, the students made significant decisions about taking action, including going out together to local demonstrations, bringing together different youth groups around the disputed issues, and taking responsibility for encouraging more youth to learn about and get involved with the current crisis.
Inbal Ron, director of Dror Israel’s network of schools said about the conference, "I left the democracy conference excited and moved by the 100 teens who want to learn, debate and discuss what they can do to change today’s reality and turn Israeli society into a better place for everyone. After many difficult days, today I felt hope and optimism."
Some of the suggested action items expressed during the conference were:
To continue engaging students in social issues include building lesson plans and conversations in the network’s high schools around contentious issues
To bring youth from various organizations and communities in Israeli society together for discussion circles
To lead discussions and activities in neighboring schools (not in Dror’s network)
To organize multicultural food and music festivals
To establish a research team that will monitor the actions of elected officials
To participate in local demonstrations together
To create videos to raise awareness.
Overall, the seminar demonstrated the importance of providing students with a space to engage with the pressing social issues of our time and to be active agents for social change. By doing so, Dror Israel’s schools are helping its students become responsible, engaged, and active members of society.