This past semester, the newly formed Israel Public Affairs Committee at Harvard (IPACH), a CAMERA-supported EMET for Israel group, hosted its first two events. In February, it invited Ishmael Khaldi, a Muslim Bedouin citizen of Israel and official in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to speak on campus. Khaldi discussed his experiences in the Israeli government, drawing from his personal life to reach broader insights into politics, society, and minority rights in Israel. Around 25 students attended the event.
Following the event with Khaldi, IPACH hosted Israeli television star Assi Azar for a screening of his documentary about coming out in Israel, “Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You.” The event was co-sponsored by the Harvard Office of BGLTQ Student Life and Harvard Bagels: A Queer/Jewish Group. Following the screening, Azar and attendants discussed LGBTQ rights in Israel. Azar elaborated on the difficulties of reconciling traditional Judaism with gay rights, but pointed out that Israel is nevertheless a remarkably supportive country in that regard.
Reflecting on the two events, IPACH President Edyt Dickstein commented, “This semester paved the way for us to become an active part of campus dialogue on Israel. We were able to hold two fascinating events that touched on aspects of Israel that are not traditionally covered, and I think that people really enjoyed discussing the issues with people who had experienced them firsthand.”