The CAMERA Israel Advocacy and Leadership Mission to Israel is three days underway, and I must admit that it has been absolutely incredible so far! As a student and a Zionist, I have had opportunities to meet more influential speakers than I could have ever imagined. The trip started off strong with a full day meeting speakers including Tamar Sternthal, the CAMERA Israel Director, Bassem Eid, a human rights activist, Zeev Ben-Shachar, Senior Israel educator at Jerusalem U, and even Dr. Anat Berko, a Member of the Knesset from the Likud party.
Each speaker presented our group of twenty student activists with new ideas and projects that will help us respond to anti-Israel sentiment on our college campuses. We learned about the meaning of Zionism and how we, as students, need to change our narrative on campus to express what Zionism really means. The lectures were enhanced by strong Q&A segments as well as debate and testimony. As a participant and an observer, I can definitely testify that we are all learning a tremendous amount of information that really will help us when we return to the States.
Yesterday was especially unique. We had the opportunity to enter area B, which is land that is under the security of Israel but under the municipality of the Palestinian Authority. From area B, we traveled to area C, which is an area where Jewish villages are under the security and municipality of Israel. We visited the legal village of Neve Daniel, where 400 families reside. From our spot at Neve Daniel, we were able to overlook all of Israel, seeing its full width. Our tour guide explained the strategic importance of this location for Israel.
In addition to this tour, we got to have an intimate conversation with Mark Regev, the adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regev spoke about Israel’s biggest threat, Iran. Iran is considered a strategic threat to Israel in light of its quest for nuclear weapons, its support for the organization of terror on all of Israel’s borders, and its destabilization of the entire region. Regev also spoke about the importance of Israel’s power and stability in the Middle East, stating that “no one will ever make peace with a weak Israel.”
Overall, we are all having a great time, meeting speakers and experiencing things that most college students would not have the opportunity to do. This trip has reaffirmed how proud I am to be a part of CAMERA and an avid supporter of Israel!
Below are a few pictures from our trip thus far! Meet our participants here.