18-year-old Tal Hagin never imagined that gaming online from his home in Haifa, Israel would bring him to Ireland to speak about his country.

From October 23rd to October 27th, Hagin will travel to Ireland with the hopes of reaching the hearts and minds of students across the country.

Alan Lyne, a second year student at the University of Maynooth, met Hagin through an online game, where they began chatting and quickly discovered their mutual passion for educating others about Israel.

After a brief crowdfunding campaign online to raise funds for Hagin to fly to Ireland to speak, CAMERA on Campus UK caught wind and quickly stepped in to fully sponsor the tour and support Lyne’s Israel society, “Maynooth University Israel Society.”

“When I saw that the only Israel Society in Ireland was in need of support, it was an obvious initiative for us to get behind. The mission of CAMERA on Campus UK’s ‘EMET for Israel’ program is to provide educational and financial resources for independent Israel societies,” tells Aviva Slomich, CAMERA’s International Campus Director.

“My trip to Ireland is a chance for the people of Ireland to hear how a young Israeli perceives his country and the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Hagin says.

Though he’s only 18, Hagin has volunteered extensively, including as a counselor for terror victims and disabled children, and in the logistics department of the Israel Defense Forces. Since the age of 14 he has participated in diplomacy and advocacy courses for Israel. “These courses opened my eyes to the complexity of the region,” he says.

“Tal is an excellent speaker and I think he will connect well with people here in Ireland,” tells Lyne.  “This is a great opportunity for students to truly discuss what is happening in Israel. While usually not directly affecting them, it is a topic that many in Ireland are profoundly passionate about. Tal’s trip provides a unique opportunity for creating the means for a better understanding and relationship between Ireland and Israel.”

In regards to impact, Hagin wants to open minds. “I want to give people hope and show them that there can be a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Because most have given up on peace. The majority of the world sees the conflict as only ending violently and I refuse to think that way.”

Hagin will be speaking at Maynooth University on October 23rd and University College Dublin on October 25th.

For more information about the tour, please email israelsociety@nuimsu.com or lia@camera.org. You may also visit the Maynooth University Israel Society Facebook page.

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