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Thursday, 27 August, 2009

Youth movement leader Tal Madar considers the nature of leadership following a meeting with the Elders.

It is an amazing experience meeting history face to face. It is a great feeling to meet great leaders of the past. Yes, it has something to do with their age, experience, wisdom, and perspective on life that leads me to cherish and appreciate these people – knowing that they had an obligation, and that they filled it with great loyalty and self sacrifice.

During the meeting I thought to myself, what is the job of these leaders? What do they expect from themselves and what do I expect from them? How can they influence and change realities in different places in the world and in my own backyard in particular?

This question has not been resolved and I guess the answers will come with time. But one answer did come to mind during the conversation and afterwards. I think that the meeting and dialogue – just speaking and listening to each other and not necessarily finding answers – is the hidden strength of this group.

I left this meeting with a feeling on the one hand of honour and on the other hand of sourness. I felt sourness after looking at these leaders and comparing them to those that lead this country today.

As a grown up person, realistic, it is clear to me that the leaders I met today have made mistakes along the way, made wrong decisions, and that some will have opposed their ways or views. But even so, the feeling I had is that we cannot doubt their leadership – leadership is a quality that cannot be artificially created by even the best media consultant.

In my youth movement we teach the youth not only to be role models to others – behaving properly when others are looking and when they are in authority – but to be a person of character – to always be a good human being no matter who is looking or when.

And maybe this is also the mission of the Elders – to be true models of character for us even today.

Tal Madar is 27 years old. She is the head of the Ihud Hahaklai (Farmer's Union) Youth Movement. She grew up in Bet Itshak, an agricultural village close to Netanya, and currently lives in Moshav Gdolim in the area. She is married to Yadin and mother to a one-year-old girl named Yuval.

Views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Elders or The Elders Foundation.

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