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Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

Drawing on her experience with the Ihud Hahaklai youth movement, Tal Madar argues that informal education can help young people to become thoughtful and engaged members of their communities.

My name is Tal Madar, and I am 27 years old. I'm married to Yadin, and mother to a one-year-old girl named Yuval.  I grew up in Bet Itshak, an agricultural village close to Netanya. The place I grew up in, with its unique atmosphere and strong community values led me to choose to live my life with a commitment to informal education.

When I was 10 years old I joined the youth movement of the Ihud Hahaklai (Agricultural Union) where I found a place that opened me up to many possibilities. It was a place that as a young girl gave me the opportunity to fulfil dreams and to imagine a better reality, with the values of love, love of country, Zionism, and communal solidarity. I participated in the movement through the end of high school.

In the army I served in the medical corps, where I qualified as a medical assistant in a combat unit. I later went on to become an instructor for different reserves teams. My duty in the army required knowledge and professionalism in the field of medicine and therefore I felt committed to continue to serve in the reserves service even after I got married, although many women stop. I took part in Operation Defensive Shield, and the Second Lebanon War.

I decided to return to the youth movement after my discharge from the army because at that time I felt emptiness and no ability to influence others. I chose to work in education because I believe that education and in particular, the youth movement as informal education, gives youth opportunities to be more engaged, to criticise, to initiate, to lead and to prove that we can live differently - in harmony and solidarity with each other, in a community where everyone can think differently with respecting and taking care of each other. The power of knowing that we as people can change and touch others gives me fulfilment and meaning every day.

Today I am the head of the Ihud Hahaklai youth movement, a position I arrived at earlier than I ever dreamed of. It is a great honour for me to be in this role, a role I see as not only a job but as an ideological route for making our future and society better. I am thrilled to take part of the meeting of Israeli youth with The Elders. I believe that discussion with world leaders will provide youth with more points of view of the reality we live in as human beings and citizens of the country.

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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