I was raised in a Zionistic home by parents who understood the importance of Israel as a Jewish state. Each morning, I would go downstairs for breakfast to find my parents sitting at the table discussing the life of Theador Herzl, Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin, among other great leaders. Current affairs in Israel were always a hot topic at home and a newspaper was always within an arm’s reach. At Fuchs Mizrachi School, I was taught Hebrew from an early age and, by the time I reached high school, half of my nine courses were taught in Hebrew. My favorite holiday was always Passover because my family’s tradition has always been to spend it in Israel.
Directly after high school, I spent a year at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv. It was a truly amazing experience to understand what it is to live in Israel, rather than simply vacation there. I learned about Israel’s the security concerns firsthand when a bomb was safely detonated by police before my eyes, when I nearly missed being a victim of a bus bombing, when I mourned with the rest of Israel after the Fogel family was brutally slaughtered in their homes after Sabbath sinner on a Friday night. But, through these dangers and tragedies, I witnessed the strength and unity of an entire nation; it was like nothing I had seen before.
After my year spent in Israel, I began my college career at Boston University. I was not prepared for the anti-Israel sentiment I witnessed during my freshman year. One student expressed his hopes for Netanyahu’s assassination to me. I soon recognized that I was no longer in my Zionist bubble and it was crucial that I learn the facts to stand up for Israel. I decided to participate in Aish HaTorah’s Hasbara Fellowships program. This was an eye-opening experience; I realized there were many other college students experiencing the same anti-Israel sentiments as I was on their college campuses. I was taken to the boarder Israel shares with her neighboring countries (Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Jordan). I heard from speakers, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, from both sides of the political spectrum. I was introduced to members of the Knesset and to members of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. I was taught how to stand up for Israel on my college campus.
Upon my return from Israel, I was asked to take part in the Investigative Taskforce Against Campus Anti-Semitism. As a research analyst, I researched the anti-Semitic and anti-Israel sentiments that occur on college campuses throughout the country. My focus was Boston-area schools. I wrote reports about the personal experiences students are faced with, the student tuition that goes towards inviting anti-Israel and anti-Semitic speakers, the violence of anti-Israel student groups on campus, professors who mistreat students based on their relationship with Israel, professors who express biased anti-Israel sentiments in class as fact.
My findings were shocking. I realized that it was up to me to change whatever I could and put the truth out there. I began hosting Sabbath dinners sponsored by Heart 2 Heart for whomever wanted to come. These dinners attracted about 50 people each time- most of whom had never experienced a Sabbath dinner before. I used the opportunity to discuss current events in Israel and the importance of Israel as a Jewish state. My passion for Israel only grew as I continued to read the biased media coverage that pertains to Israel.
I spent this past summer abroad in London where the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment exploded during Operation Protective Edge. I used my Facebook to fight for Israel in what became a media war. The untruths about Israel that were constantly splattered all over my newsfeed were appalling. I felt as though it was my responsibility to get the truth out there.
I could not stand watching on the sidelines as my friends in the Israeli army were fighting a war against viscous Hamas terrorists so I decided to go to Israel to help however I could. My goal was simply to buy food and drinks for soldiers and visit the wounded in hospitals. When I went to a lookout with two friends on the boarder with Gaza, Hamas noticed a civilian car pull up and a sniper shot at us three times. After a few minutes, a rocket was launched in our direction and, on our way out of the lookout, another rocket was launched at us. I was a civilian targeted by Hamas. I believe it is important to spread the truth about Israel and her enemies in order to combat much of the mainstream media and make it clear that Israel’s enemies are enemies of all civilized man.