Ideology

In Mifkad, the ceremony that takes place at all Bnei Akiva events, the Rosh asks ‘What is our life?’, to which everyone responds ‘Torah Va’Avodah'; to ‘What is our motto?’, the response is ‘The People of Israel in the Land of Israel, living according to the Torah of Israel’.

Torah Va’Avodah (TVA), which translates as Torah and work, is an ideal which we try to live our lives by. The learning, practising and teaching of Torah should be combined with a desire to build up and contribute to the Land of Israel as much as possible.

As a pioneering Zionist youth movement, Bnei Akiva believes that it is a central commandment of Judaism to make Aliyah to the Land of Israel and maintains that the future of the Jewish people is tied to the State of Israel. Bnei Akiva feels that Jewish youth in the Diaspora should be educated to realise that the State of Israel needs them, and that they, in turn, need it. In the early years of pioneering, Avodah was clearly understood as meaning agricultural work, as reflected in the symbolism on the “Semel”. In more recent years, there has driven a shift in ideology towards a broader definition of working for the development of the country.

Similarly, the original socialist aims of Bnei Akiva are also taking more of a back-seat. Up to the 1980s many Bnei Akiva members joined religious Kibbutzim in Garinim (groups). They were either groups based on army service together in Nahal or they were groups that came on Aliyah to Israel together. Since the 1990s, Bnei Akiva members now typically settle in development towns, settlements and cities. They are active in all areas of Israeli life including security, hi-tech, education, academia and many more fields.

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