Youth corps

  • Issue: April 1982
  • Designer: A. Berg
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 32
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

The GADNA (Gedudei Noar-Youth Corps) which came into being 40 years ago is a para-military organization encompassing the whole of Israeli youth between the ages of 14 and 18. Its functions, like those of the Israel Defence Forces in general, have changed over the years to meet the needs of the hour. In the beginning, it worked alongside the Hagana and its members were active in the War of Independence. In the fifties its members worked with new immigrant youth, helping them adapt to their new country, while in the sixties, it concentrated on the high schools and technical schools and on its work with working youth.

After the Yom Kippur War and the increase in terrorist activity (particularly following the incident at Ma'alot), the Gadna turned its energies to training its members for service with the Civil Guard for local defence and guard duties in the area of their homes. The Knesset has defined the division of functions between the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Gadna command and the Gadna is responsible for the pre-army training of all Israeli youth between the ages of 14 and 18.

Gadna activities today cover a very wide field, starting with preliminary instruction in rifle shooting and an introduction to the structure of the Gadna and the Defence Forces Each year members of Gadna spend 6-10 days on "National Service" during which time they are introduced to life in the army, working alongside soldiers in supply bases, maintenance depots, fortifications, shore observation posts and emergency stores. In this manner they save the country thousands of workdays that would otherwise have been performed by civilians called-up for reserve duty.

In addition, members spend six days a year training at Gadna bases to equip them to play an active part in civil defence and the Civil Guard in their home areas. They also receive instruction in self-defence, teamwork, fieldcraft, life in the army, etc.

Each age-group at high school is organized within the framework of the country's Emergency Services and its members are assigned to duties with the Civil Defence forces, hospitals, postal services, Magen David Adom, etc. Members of the Gadna living outside the towns are assigned to replace the agricultural workers called up for military service.

The Gadna has also devoted a great deal of its attention to dealing with under-privileged youth, educating them to love and acquire a knowledge of their country prior to their call-up for army service. In this connection they operate a network of youth clubs designed to keep youngsters off the streets and to prepare problematic youngsters for their army service - in this way they help reduce the dropout rate from the army. In addition, the Gadna organizes Rifle Shooting Clubs and the Gadna Air Corps which are officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and Culture which respectively aim at improving the level of marksmanship and on providing an introduction to service in the Air Force.

Yet another activity of the Gadna is the organization of summer camps to prepare its members for service in specific branches of the armed forces and to which Jewish youth from overseas are invited. At these camps the Gadna members and the overseas participants are given para-military training.

Finally, the Gadna is also responsible for organizing a number of national events such as the annual Jerusalem March and the world Bible Contest for Jewish Youth.

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Youth corps