Have you ever wondered about the secret to Israel’s many successes in different worldwide industries and initiatives including bio-technology, medicine, the arts and the military?
The answer is quite simple. Israel invests in its youth and sees them as the future leaders of the world. The Yeshivot Bnei Akiva (“YABA”) Educational Network, which is made up of 70 yeshivot, ulpanot, mechinot and hesder yeshivot and spans the entire length and width of Israel, educates over 24,000 students each year and has over 100,000 graduates serving as leading Torah scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, IDF generals, Supreme Court justices and members of Knesset.
The 70 schools educate and nurture high school and/or IDF-bound Zionistic Modern Orthodox boys and girls. The goal is to light a spark within each student and to guide them in meeting their true potential in becoming active contributors to Israeli society. Whether it is programming for students excelling in robotics and engineering or in the arts, for Torah L’shma or for successfully absorbing and integrating olim to allow for a soft landing in their new home county, YABA is a network of schools and programming that has produced, and will continue to produce, leaders who make Israel a better place and a light unto the world.
Here are just a few examples of the unique individual institutions within the YABA Network:
Lapid Torat Nachum in Modiin: Has a cutting-edge robotics program and successfully competes against schools from all around the world.
Kiryat Herzog in Bnei Brak: Produces high school students who simultaneously excel at the highest levels of Torah learning and graduate with an advanced engineering degree in a joint program with Machon Lev.
Kinor David in Ateret and Shirat Hayam in Neve Tzuf: Are a boys’ and a girls’ high school where students have to major in music, writing and/or performing in rigorous programs outside of regular school hours.
Lachish/Bnei Dakalim: Is a new girls’ high school created for the resettled families who were displaced from Gush Katif. Given its excellent reputation, it has grown from zero students to 240 students in just the three years since its inception.
Or Me’ophir: Is a post high school hesder program specifically for disadvantaged Ethiopian students that, in addition to developing and strengthening the students’ academic skills, ends the poverty cycle and builds its students’ self-esteem by helping them secure a driver’s license and providing free dental care so they can smile with confidence.
Naaleh program at the Amana School in Kfar Saba: Is a program where girls who make aliyah from all over the world come without their families and attend high school free of charge beginning in the 10th grade.
The accomplishments of YABA alumni are impressive:
The Knesset averages more than 10 members who are YABA graduates. In a recent Knesset, 15% of Knesset members were YABA alumni.
Israel’s first Ethiopian air force pilot is a graduate of YABA Bnei Brak, and there have been quite a few major-generals, the leaders of the IDF, who are YABA alumni.
Three out of four roshei yeshivot of Israeli hesder programs are YABA alumni.
As a result of YABA embracing gender diversity in executive roles, women currently head over half of Israel’s their girls’ high schools.
For more, please visit www.yaba-do.org (Graduates & Leadership).
YABA continues to provide the foundation for the success of a modern-day Zionist Israel. It is clear from the examples above why our new tagline, YABA-DO, is so fitting. At YABA, we “do”—we create and foster these extraordinary programs that are impacting the landscape of Israeli society.
Please join us for a virtual event on Sunday, January 17, at 10 a.m. (EST) featuring Naftali Bennet, a YABA graduate, successful entrepreneur, recent minister of defense and current prime minister candidate, where you will learn about the unique role that YABA plays in creating the thriving successful Israel that we know and love. And, when you have the opportunity to visit Israel, we look forward to giving you the opportunity to experience firsthand YABA’s influence on the state of Israel.
For more information or to RSVP, please visit www.yaba-do.org.
Yehuda Kohn is the executive director of American Friends of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva. He can be reached at