President Herzog Honors Yemin Orde Graduates

Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog hosted an Independence Day ceremony to award the Israeli Defense Forces' annual citations for distinguished service — an honor given to 120 Israeli soldiers and officers from a diverse set of units. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was in attendance, along with senior IDF officials.

In what is a remarkable testament to the power of the Village Way, four of this years’ honorees are members of the Yemin Orde community.

RIVKA JAMBAR came to Yemin Orde in 10th grade. Growing up in an economically depressed and socially challenging environment in Yafo, she was shy and introverted. But, it was immediately clear to Village staff that underneath her quiet exterior lay incredible potential. She currently serves in an infantry combat brigade.

ADISSO LIGBAU was born in Ethiopia, and his parents died when he was young. He came to Yemin Orde in 9th grade and worked tirelessly to learn Hebrew and succeed in school. Upon graduation in 2018, he studied electronics for two years and is currently a helicopter technician in the Air Force.

YAEL SARUYA came to Yemin Orde from Brazil and quickly forged strong friendships with her peers and Village staff. After graduating with distinguished grades, she entered the IDF medical corps and now serves in a dental clinic on a northern Israel base. Yael's parents, following their daughter's successful integration into Israeli society, recently made aliyah.


YOEL BALIA is one of nine children of Ethiopian immigrant parents. He was quiet and reserved, but, during his time at the Yemin Orde Mechina (one-year pre-military leadership program) he became a confident leader. Yoel even stayed a second year to serve as a "big brother" and a bridge between the participants and staff. Yoel is now a sergeant in the elite Golani Brigade.

It would be more than noteworthy for any one school to have produced so many Outstanding Soldiers in one year. But for students like ours, who come from challenging backgrounds, it is truly extraordinary.

“You are our true pride. I salute you,” President Herzog said to the young soldiers. “I was moved by your stories. You are here thanks to who you are, and thanks to who we are. Thank you very much! I extend the same gratitude to you, dear parents and families. We are proud of your children.”

It is no secret that The Village Way methodology helps young people achieve remarkable lives despite the obstacles they may face. But, with over a thousand high schools in Israel, this new milestone is particularly significant. It serves as a reminder of the impact of our work and provides inspiration as we move forward in our endeavors.

Congratulations to Rivka, Adisso, Yael, and Yoel, and to our entire Yemin Orde and Village Way Educational Initiatives family!

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