AMIT student, Reut Amichai, 17, has been honored with lighting a torch at this year’s Israeli 75th anniversary Independence Day opening ceremony on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem on the eve of April 25. She will do so in honor of Shomer HaChadash, an organization she has volunteered with for more than three years and whose mission is to protect state-owned lands.
Reut is the youngest person to be awarded such an honor. This year, there was a particularly large pool of candidates recommended for their contributions to Israeli society. Only 30 candidates from 1,600 applicants were chosen by a special committee. Israeli Minister of Transport and Road Safety Miri Regev and the Prime Minister’s Office made the final choices for those to light the 12 torches.
Reut Amichai is a 12th-grade student at Midreshet AMIT Kama in Yeruham. She lives with her family in the settlement of Neta in the Lakish region. This community was founded by displaced individuals from Gush Katif, along with families who joined subsequently, including Reut’s parents.
In addition to her involvement as a madricha, or leader, in Bnei Akiva, she volunteers for Shomer HaChadash. When asked about her motivation to join, Reut said: “I aspired to make a difference and contribute while being surrounded by good people.”
Shula Levy, principal of Midreshet AMIT Kama, praised her selection and commended her as a role model for young women. “Reut is an example of a young woman who is a leader and a trailblazer, very much loved by her classmates. She is a girl whose volunteer work for the people of Israel, and the land of Israel are a part of her. For three years, she has worked with HaShomer HaChadash and is a member of the leadership program. Her humility and dedication are loved and respected wherever she goes.”
“We are so proud to have one of our AMIT students selected to light the torch at this year’s celebration,” says Audrey Axelrod Trachtman, AMIT’s national president. “Our goal is to inspire our students to become world leaders, and Reut is one example of our many extraordinary students.”
The torch-lighting ceremony ushers in Independence Day celebrations and signifies the end of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. The ceremony is held annually at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem and led by the Speaker of the Knesset.
Among those who attend are government ministers, Knesset members, members of the diplomatic staff and veterans of the Israel Defense Forces. The ceremony is broadcast live on national television and radio channels with a focal point being the lighting of 12 torches, symbolizing the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Torches are lit by individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society. The ceremony also includes music performances, dances, parades and fireworks.
Reut is vocal about the Zionist mission, and she has called out to young people through AMIT and social media to help in the movement across the country to protect the state lands. While she never expected to be in the program on Mount Herzl, she will read a text prior to lighting the torch to convey messages of unity and love for the land.
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