Uri Cohen, founder and head of Masa Israeli, has been chosen to light a torch this year at the Independence Day torch lighting ceremony on Mount Herzl. Masa Israeli is a groundbreaking educational organization that maintains a dialogue of identity in order to deepen the connection and involvement with the Jewish people, the land, and the State of Israel.
Masa Israeli’s flagship program is conducted over a 6-day journey throughout the country and operates via a unique Israeli pedagogical method based on circles of discussions and identity-challenging activities that translate values into voluntary activity and a meaningful lifestyle, alongside a pluralistic approach to the diversity of Israeli society's opinions and identities. Participants in the journey go through a series of formative experiences through encounters with people and places among the country's landscapes and historical sites that connect them to the people, the land and the State of Israel.
Among the participants in Masa Israeli’s programs are Israeli youth in grades 10 through 12, teachers, IDF soldiers and commanders, wounded IDF veterans, company managers and employees, university students, and members of organizations and communities in Israel and around the world. To date, over 300,000 participants have participated in Masa Israeli.
Masa Israeli also operates an additional program for students that provides students with an understanding of the challenges facing Israeli society among secular, religious, ultra-Orthodox and Arab citizens. Masa Israeli is led by leading public and business figures and is headed by General (res.) Eliezer Shkedi, former commander of the Israeli Air Force.