This past Tuesday, 30 students of WIZO Nir HaEmek Youth Village graduated from the boarding school's law enforcement study track, in a moving ceremony at Israel's National Police Academy in Beit Shemesh.
For the tenth year in a row at the WIZO Nir HaEmek Youth Village in Afula, high school students have been able to study law enforcement studies as part of a unique educational scheme in Israel - a study course that was founded on the joint initiative of WIZO, the Israel Police, Ministry of Homeland Security and the Ministry of Education.
The law enforcement study track comprises three intensive years of theoretical and practical study. The track offers full high school matriculation at its culmination and among other things, students learn criminology, psychology, democracy, the rule of law, the value of volunteerism and practical aspects of police and law enforcement work like handling firearms, illegal substances, krav maga (Israeli martial arts), horse-riding and much more. For the students in the track, many of whom come from dysfunctional homes and difficult backgrounds and communities, the course of study is a positive step in the rehabilitation of their lives. It also prepares them for service in the IDF and a productive professional future: 87% of the graduates have a full matriculation and 89% go on to IDF service. These graduates often wind up in elite army units and get preferential enlistement to the police force after their compulsory military service.
Police Superintendent Eyal Yehuda, the officer in charge of the law enforcement track at WIZO Nir HaEmek, was full of pride at the recent graduation ceremony. "I feel that I am helping these children find the right path," says Yehuda. "The kids say that thanks to the program they have made tremendous personal progress."
In a recorded message, Chief of the Israel Police Roni Alsheikh, congratulated the graduates, "We will continue to follow your journeys. You bring us great pride and will surely continue to do so as future police officers and citizens."