Donate to Israel: Honoring Amalnet’s Rich History and Future

The Amal Educational Network is proud of its heritage, deeply intertwined within the formation and thriving of the Zionist movement, the State of Israel and its national institutions.

Amal’s story began in 1928 when it was formed as the educational arm of the Histadrut – The General Federation of Labor in Israel. The leaders of the Histadrut understood the crucial need to establish an infrastructure for a national system of vocational education to train a generation of Jewish workers with occupations needed for an independent and economically viable state. 

The evolution of the Amal Network can be broken down to the founding years, the expansion of the infrastructure throughout the 1960s, its peak period in the 1970s, it’s maturity during the 1990s and its redefinition in the following years to become a scientific and technological network. Currently, under a new leadership, Amal aims at return to its basic social-democratic values and develop capabilities needed to rebuilding Israeli society post the War in Gaza. At no time in the past has the challenges of education in Israel have been so overwhelming: major cutbacks in government budgets are added to challenges such as transforming to the digital age and educating for tolerance in an extremely hostile environment.  

The Founding Years: Establishing Our Educational Roots

The founding period stretched from 1928 until the 1950s. Amal was led by chairman Israel Marom (Marminsky) who paved the way for Amal to become a network of technological educational. He responded to the needs of the “Yishuv” while shaping the character of the Jewish community in “Eretz Israel”, hardworking and responding for every need. Amal’s first classrooms were set up in the “Working Youth” sheds in Tel Aviv, where they delivered vocational training. Most of the students were the children of working-class families, new immigrants who fled from Europe. They learned basic professions such as metalwork, electricity, carpentry and construction metalwork. The workshops were named after Max Fine, an American trade union leader who helped strengthen education in Israel.

Historic black and white image of an official Amalnet ceremony with Israeli flags, symbolizing the long-standing tradition and national pride supported by 'Donate to Israel' contributions.

From then on, Amal, with the support of the Histadrut, began to open more schools with a vision of developing education in Israel.  In 1935 the cornerstone of Amal Maz Fine was set up. In 1944, the Amal Hadera school opened, with three classes.  In 1946, an Amal school in Tiberias was officially opened, and then in Safed, followed by an educational center in Jerusalem.  In Kiryat Haim, the International School was opened after receiving a substantial donation from David Dubinsky and Jay Mazur, presidents of the Women’s Garment and Needlework Association in the United States, the ILGWU.

In March 1947, the Amal school in Jerusalem became part of a closed military area.  During the War of Independence, some of the buildings from the school in Safed were bombed. In the 1950s, two new schools were built, in Ramla and in Petah Tikva, and the number of students increased from a few dozens to a couple of thousands.  In 1954 Amal decided to open another school in Tel Aviv, Amal Holtz, to provide training for adults in aviation and electronics. Yisrael Marom (Marminsky) who was then the chairman of Amal, convinced KKL to give the land.

Vintage photo of Amalnet's early educators and students outdoors, a testament to the educational heritage and community spirit that 'Donate to Israel' efforts continue to honor.

The waves of immigration in the 1950s added many more new students. Amal trained them in language skills and sought-after professions. Additional schools were established with the assistance of local authorities. Simultaneously, the Amal network received assistance from Zionist donors in Canada. One of these families was Bloomfield. Bernard Bloomfield contributed funds to strengthen existing schools and establish new ones who were named after his spouse, Lady Davis.

Growth and Innovation: Meeting the Challenges of Every Era

From the beginning of the 1960s, Amal began to take in many students and established new schools under the management of chairman, Natan Almozlino; director-general, Uri Raviv, and Gad Yacobi who served for a while as chairman.

According to various sources, by 1977, the Amal network had already grown to about 48 schools. By 1998, it included 15 colleges for technicians and practical engineers, 28 comprehensive and technological educational centers and learning workshops in IDF bases. New technological majors such as computers, communications, graphics, Industry Engineering and management were added to the curriculum and a variety of advanced technologically equipped labs were introduced.    

Amal’s moto has always been: “Educate the child according to his way”. In the 1970s Amal started operating in Bedouin, Druze and Arab schools which changed its mixture of schools and created a variety of study tracks appropriate for the specific student population of each school.  

From the 1970s to the end of the 1980s, when the late Uri Agami served as chairman, and Zvi Cohen and Dov Lubalsky served as Directors Generals, Amal experienced a tremendous burst of activity. Many high schools joined Amal: in Nahariya, Safed, and Beersheba and also from the Bedouin town of Rahat and the Druze community in Kaseifa, Zarzir and Kisra Samia.   The network also adopted the “Raful Youth” – a project for at-risk Jewish and Arab students, who were gathered to learn a profession while receiving emotional support. In addition, Amal opened educational workshops in military camps such as in Camp Natan, Camp Shimshon.

Group of Amalnet staff during a historical visit to an airfield with Israeli Air Force planes, reflecting the strong ties between Amalnet's educational programs and national industry, supported by 'Donate to Israel'.

A support network of friends and donors was set up in the USA, which operates until today thanks to one of Amal’s graduates from Petach Tikvah, Yisrael Bloom, the current treasurer and board member.

From the early 90s onwards, a process of re-stabilization began. Chairman Doron Shorer started this process; he was followed by Avigdor Kahalani, who brought with him Menashe Inbar to serve as Director General.  The latter implemented an innovative organizational management concept that contributed to schools’ continued development and led to an expansion of value-education activity, including the absorption of many new immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

Later, under the leadership of chairman Dr. Haim Ilon-Ilouz and Director General Raanan Sharir, Amal expanded and added multidisciplinary schools, in Kiryat Malachi, Amal Lakia and Safed as well as colleges for technicians and practical engineers; and the Ahva Academic College.

Friends of Amal from around the world aided in the network’s expansion to meet the needs of the hour. First and foremost, the Canadian Bloomfield family and the ELDEE Foundation, the Canadian Kali Foundation, the Rashi Foundation, German Foundations, the American IHF, and others.

Amal’s accelerated development continued under the leadership of Yaakov Shamai, who served for a while as both chairman and Director General; director-general Yitzhak Fuxy; Director General Shimon Cohen and chairman Zvi Gutwater. These were faced with the challenging tasks of introducing technological innovation, developing computerized systems and engineering systems, encouraging students to continue studies for technician and practical engineering degrees in grades 13 and 14, and strengthening the technological and academic study tracks.

This is how Amal was transformed from a vocational educational network into a scientific-technological educational network that emphasizes the study of advanced technological subjects that are necessary for the development of Israel’s economy and industry.

Amal schools offered high-quality education in prestigious and sought-after fields such as biotechnology, communications and software engineering. Sophisticated laboratories were built in schools to allow academic-level research; collaborations were undertaken with academia and pedagogical adaptations were made in study methods according to the abilities of every student.  Intensified study tracks were opened for outstanding students and various options for technological academic study within the framework of military service were offered including the possibility of pursuing higher education simultaneous with high school studies.

In the decade that followed, from 2011 onwards, with the arrival of Director General Ravit Dom Eini and chairman Dudi Gil, Amal added new content into its curriculum.  It developed entrepreneurship centers to cultivate technological excellence and undertake scientific initiatives – a first in Israel.  At these centers project-based entrepreneurial learning in the spirit of high-tech, based on researching needs in industry, biomed, media and communication and management studies, were introduced.  Collaborations were undertaken with Apple, Google and Microsoft.  Joint biomed projects were conducted with hospitals, as well as joint initiatives with industry.    

Underlying this activity was a social commitment that included collaborations with children with special needs and the development of start-ups by students where they created solutions for populations with special needs, with the help of mentors and entrepreneurs from the High tech industry. The Amal Network received international recognition for its innovation in establishing the entrepreneurship centers from the European Union and the European ETF.  

Today’s Amalnet: Leading with Technology and Inclusion

In 2022, Ms. Karen Tal, a graduate of the Mandel Program for Educational Leadership, became the Director General of Amal. She has extensive experience in the educational and social fields.  She served as the CEO of “Tovanot B’Chinuuch” (Insights in Education Association), which worked in Israel’s social and geographic peripheries and managed to transform at-risk schools into an inspiring and successful one. Karen served as the Executive Director of the Bialik Rogozin campus, which was attended by children of 48 nationalities, and turned the school, which was at risk of closing down into a school that won the national education award. 

Today, the challenges facing Karen and the chairman of the board, Alex Miller, are to turn the Amal network into Israel’s leading independent network, in terms of its pedagogical and social achievements; to emphasize and expand the study of democracy in all the schools; to develop and position Amal in a way that allows all students to be proud of the study track they choose and to provide them with the tools to develop their career. Moreover, to strengthen a network encompasses a true mosaic of Israeli society – Jews and Arabs, religious, secular, and ultra-Orthodox. 

Since its inception in 1928 Amal has constantly adapted itself to the economic and social changes taking place in Israel. It has always been a pioneer and a trailblazer in developing state-of-the-art technological tracks of study.

Academic multidisciplinary schools, technological schools, technological educational centers (mahat), colleges for technicians and practical engineers, vocational training centers and adult education programs will be part of one democratic, educational state network that operates in the spirit of the Histadrut values, based on Amal’s national-social commitment to Zionism, to Jewish values of social equality, tolerance and  debating while respecting opposite views.

​Since its establishment, the network has come a long way, growing in size and tailoring its ethical and educational activity to the changes undergone by Israeli society. In 2007, Amal received the status of a public benefit corporation.

Group of students in the class

Donate To Israel: Contribute to the Amal Community’s Recovery

In light of the economic strains and conflicts that have necessitated significant governmental budget reductions, the Amal network, which nurtures a community of more than 100,000, urgently calls for philanthropic support to continue its essential educational programs. This pivotal moment demands our collective action and reaffirms our commitment to Jewish values and the enduring spirit of Israel, ensuring comprehensive support across our community. We encourage you to engage with and donate to our specially curated projects, dedicated to sparking a passion for learning and offering vital social and emotional support. Your contribution to donate to Israel by aiding the Amal network is crucial now more than ever, as it directly impacts the lives of our youth and the future trajectory of Israel. We extend our deepest gratitude for your generous support and commitment.