The IDF is Israel’s largest “academy” for the development of personal and social skills and training Israel’s future leadership. Each IDF battalion or company bases constitutes a prime educational space for soldiers in training. This highlights the commanders’ influential role in creating their unit’s values and educational climate and, as such, also on the entire Israeli society.
In July 2002, Lt. Gen. Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon was appointed as the IDF’s 17th Chief of the General Staff. Immediately upon taking office, he identified the issues which required meaningful strategic decisions, and established committees to address each issue. One such committee was dedicated to education. Chief of Staff Ya’alon invited Prof. Ish-Shalom, Beit Morasha’s Founding President, to this committee in order to present his views regarding the scope and focus of education in the IDF and to recommend future policy directions.
Consequently, Prof. Ish-Shalom was tasked with introducing a new approach regarding the essence of education in the IDF. Following a thorough process of learning the needs, he met with the entire General Staff, who approved his recommendations for a comprehensive educational program in the IDF to be conducted and managed by the Education Corps.
Together with senior Education Corps staff members and the Beit Morasha team, Prof. Ish-Shalom formulated the “Identity and Purpose” document, which, to this day, serves what General Ya’alon has characterized as the foundational document that sets forth the IDF’s educational approach to Jewish values and identity.
For close to three decades, Beit Morasha has served as the strategic partner to the Commanding Officers in the Education Corps. As such, Beit Morasha collaborated with the Education Corps in the development of an annual program and educational training series addressing the IDF’s values, and the educational and moral competence of the commanders (at all levels). To this day, Beit Morasha also assists in program implementation.
Beit Morasha’s professional facilitators train and work with IDF commanders to empower them as educational leaders who can run the various educational programs and workshops in their respective units. This training program enables IDF commanders to fulfill their role as “commander-educators.”
The various programs and workshops are designed to enable learning, exploration, and clarification of values. These programs contain a dimension of content and a dimension of process. The teaching modality is based on experiential learning using various techniques, such as outdoor training (ODT), exploratory hiking treks, and discourse and text study circles.
Over 250,000 IDF commanders of all ranks have already participated in the different training programs and workshops.
The following are some of the areas covered by the Beit Morasha programs in the IDF: