Forbes’ 30 under 30 recognizes two Hashomer Hachadash leaders

Hashomer Hachadash is a volunteer grassroots organization helping farmers and ranchers in the Negev and the Galilee safeguard their land.

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January 30, 2019 05:48
4 minute read.
Forbes’ 30 under 30 recognizes two Hashomer Hachadash leaders

Amit Meir and Shlomo Lampert in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. (photo credit: SHLOMI YOSEF/FORBES ISRAEL)

In a move designed to recognize innovation, Forbes Israel has recognized two leaders of Hashomer Hachadash, Amit Meir and Shlomo Lampert in this year’s 30 under 30 list for their work in agriculture and land protection, it announced late Tuesday.

The Forbes’ list of 30 under 30 lauds the most promising and successful of Israel’s young innovators.

Hashomer Hachadash is a volunteer grassroots organization helping farmers and ranchers in the Negev and the Galilee safeguard their land.

Meir is the founder and director of Adam V’Adama high school, which combines academic learning with agricultural experience. Lampert developed the leading agricultural volunteering project “Connecting to the Land,”one of the largest youth volunteering projects in Israel.  . 

Meir, who is just 29 years old, grew up on Moshav Hatzeva "and dreamed of being a farmer like my parents." But his plans changed after finishing a year of service with Hashomer Hachadash and serving as a commander in the Air Force’s 669 Rescue Unit.
“I saw the agricultural crisis in the Arava alongside the national educational crisis. I recognized the need for young people to connect to the land and return to a life of doing something out of a real mission,” Meir said. 

He explained that Adam V’Adama is a unique and revolutionary boarding school program, which combines full matriculation with agricultural labor in the Arava desert. The program strengthens agricultural communities and stimulates the development of Israel’s periphery while cultivating deep-rooted leadership and Jewish identity among students.
"I recognized the need for young people to connect to the land and return to a life of doing something out of a real mission, he said. "I'm not a regular principal. I am more of a figure that the youth connect to. I talk to them at eye level."

Meir is currently completing a degree in education and management and is nationally recognized for establishing the school, among which he was chosen as an outstanding entrepreneur of the YCA Foundation. In the future, Meir said that his ambition is to grow and develop and is working to establish two more schools, one in the Jezreel Valley and the other in the Golan Heights.

Lampert, also 29, said that the “Connecting to the Land.” aims to assist struggling farmers while acquainting young people with the land through a hands-on approach.
“I remembered how I enjoyed picking mangoes in the Kinneret as a boy, and I realized that work is the real way to connect.
"We are deployed all over the country, working with 500 farmers from the Arava to the Golan Heights," he said. "Our goal is that every farmer in Israel can help us."

The youth volunteers Lampert recruits have helped these farmers by providing them with both physical and support in their efforts to protect their fields from thieves and arsonists. The farmers in Israel, he explained, suffer from economic distress and a lack of assistance on the ground. "There is a great concern and danger that we will not have a future generation - that no one will want to be a farmer in the future."

Over the past five years, Lampert has gathered a core of some 1,000 volunteers between the ages of 16 to 19 years old, who in turn lead groups of hundreds of youth, bringing 175,000 young people out to the fields on a regular basis.

Lampert, who is married and the father of a baby girl told Forbes that he does not come from a green background. "The project was conceived by the Hashomer Hachadash movement, where he has been employed since his discharge from the army.

"The idea started in the army, I served in the Shaldag [unit] and I felt that even the best people in the country around me have no idea why we are actually here, in this country," he said. "At first I thought that hiking was the way to do it, but then I remembered how I enjoyed picking mangoes in the Kinneret as a boy, and I realized that work is the real way to connect.
"If one percent of the volunteers we bring will remain in agriculture, I will be happy," Lampert added.

Following the Forbes announcement, Yoel Zilberman, founder and CEO of Hashomer Hachadash , said that “over the years we have gained a rare breed of 'guardians,' whose hearts and minds are full of boundless caring and faith.
"These guardians have taught us not just to think, but to turn our dreams into plans so that they become courses of action, shaping reality…The gratifying recognition of Amit and Shlomo by Forbes Magazine as influential young adults in their 20s proves the axiom that within each and every one of us there is endless potential for wonderful creation,” he added.


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