Boys Town Jerusalem (BTJ) graduate IDF Colonel Yaniv Avitan, recipient of the 2018 Israel Defense Prize of the Israeli Ministry of Defense returned to his former school for a close look at how the next generation is being prepared to meet Israel’s challenges.
Col. Avitan heads the IDF’s Field Intelligence Technological Unit which has developed the technology to detect Hamas terrorist tunnels.
His unit is composed of experts in engineering, physics, and maths and under his leadership, they have made the IDF the world’s first army to possess an effective means to detect terrorist tunnels. Col. Avitan’s own family lives within the immediate proximity of the deadly tunnels that have been discovered.
Speaking to students, Col. Avitan stressed that Israel’s survival depends on its ability to ‘out-innovate’ its enemies. “Our (unit’s) most crucial asset is not necessarily their knowledge, but their supreme values,” which “have equipped them with the dedication and perseverance that has led to the crucial discovery of 15 attack tunnels to date.” These core values, Col. Avitan stressed, were shaped at Boys Town Jerusalem.
Born and raised in the southern town of Netivot, Yaniv followed two older brothers to BTJ. “I spent six crucial years living and studying at this school. Our curriculum was challenging and intensive, and our teachers demanded the very best.” Senior Rabbi Mordechai Gordon noted that Yaniv was one of the first (and best) students in BTJ’s pioneering Comprehensive Interdisciplinary Technology programme.
The acclaimed graduate was visibly impressed as Boys Town Jerusalem students shared their latest innovations with him. “This is the basis for teaching the next generation,” Avitan declared whilst watching Year 9 student Yair Zabit demonstrate his team’s Lego-based robot.