Israel Defense Ministry’s Security and Social Division this week approved the application of Israel Gay Youth (IGY) to establish a pre-military preparatory school, Israel Hayom reported Thursday (משרד הביטחון אישר לראשונה: ארגון גאה יקים מכינה קדם צבאית).
IGY is a voluntary LGBTQ NGO aimed at Israeli youth. IGY provides a social framework for youth to meet and advocates for LGBTQ youth in 22 cities in Israel, serving more than 1,500 youths annually. The NGO is recognized and supported by the Education Ministry.
The Defense Ministry’s decision is precedent-setting, as no pre-military preparatory school has ever been established for homosexual future recruits before. According to Israel Hayom, the pre-military school will receive its Defense Ministry accreditation in two years if it meets the criteria, and will necessarily be open to the general population of pre-military youth, not just gays.
The IGY school was the only one approved by the Defense Ministry this year when normally two pre-military schools are approved each year. This angered other groups that did not win the tender, and who consider themselves more suitable to run a preparatory school. These include Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), HaShomer HaChadash, and Aharai! who have been working for many years with an emphasis on enlistment in the IDF.
Israel Hayom has learned that at least one of these organizations intends to appeal the decision.
“We wouldn’t have minded if it were possible to establish two preparatory schools, it would have been fine for IGY to establish one – but in a situation where only one pre-military preparatory school is established, it should be given to a group that deals more substantially with IDF recruitment,” an official of one of these groups who asked to remain anonymous complained. “What experience does the IGY group have in the world of preparatory courses? They work with gay youth and do a wonderful job in their field, but it has nothing to do with the IDF.”
The Defense Ministry responded: “The Security and Social Division of the Defense Ministry operates in accordance with the law and the directives of the ministry. The Committee dealing with the recognition of pre-military preparatory schools includes, among others, a representative of the IDF and a representative of the legal counsel for the defense apparatus. After an in-depth examination of all the applications submitted, the committee decided—unanimously—that the IGY initiative is the most appropriate.”