In 2005, the Government of Israel passed a resolution to transfer the main technological units of the Intelligence Corps to the Negev, at a tremendous cost of NIS 30 billion. This decision has created a unique opportunity to develop the Negev in the spirit of David Ben Gurion's vision, in terms of physical infrastructure, education, demographic structure and economic stability.
Today, less than 2% of soldiers serving in trained positions in the Intelligence corps come from the South of Israel. This fact is likely to hamper the potential contribution that the IDF Negev transfer could make to strengthening the South.
In order to maximize the benefits of the national project, it is imperative to expand significantly the number of southern residents who are enlisted to valuable service in these elite units, without lowering the threshold for their admittance. The way to do this is through programs that strengthen scholastic excellence among pupils, while also instilling in them specialized knowledge that relates to service in the IDF's elite technological units.
Together with the Intelligence Corps and Ministry of Education, the Rashi Foundation has initiated a pilot program under the name of Magshimim (meaning "realizing the dream"), launched in August 2010, which is designed to develop expertise among pupils in the Negev in the fields of cyber and computers, so that they can pass the very demanding entrance tests to the best technological units of the Intelligence Corps at the end of the program.
Magshimim targets high school pupils in 9th-12th grades with very strong academic potential. They take special courses to deepen and broaden their knowledge in subjects in which Intelligence Corps soldiers must be highly proficient. The program is based on twice-weekly meetings in after-school hours.
In addition, students take part in social activities, visits to high-tech industries and Intelligence Corps bases.
Starting in the 2012/3 school year, Magshimim is being expaded in the framework of a joint initiative with the Defense Ministry. As a national program, it will reach up to 600 students within three years while the government provides a major part of the funding.