Youth Movements and Organizations
During the Yishuv period and in the early 1950s, youth movements
associated with political parties were important institutions
of political education and socialization. Affiliated branches
even existed in the European and American diasporas. They were
training grounds for future members, and especially for the future
elite, of the parties. Each party of any size had one: Mapam (the
original Labor-oriented youth movement was HaShomer HaTzair--
see Appendix B), Herut (Betar--see Appendix B), National Religious
Party (Bene Akiva), as well as the Histadrut and other organizations.
The fate of these youth movements over the years has reflected
the broader changes that have occurred in Israeli society. The
relatively apolitical and nonideological Boy Scout organization
has grown; left-of-center movements have not. The Bene Akiva,
on the other hand, has also grown, more than three-fold since
1960. In the late 1980s, it enrolled more than 30,000 Israeli
religious youths, who make up a large part of the "knitted skullcaps."
The Bene Akiva has acted as a training ground for many of the
young extremist and right-wing Orthodox political activists who
have gained prominence since the June 1967 War.
Data as of December 1988