Tough Love

May 25, 2016

Lilia Gaufberg's recently received degree. [SOURCE: Facebook]

Lilia Gaufberg recently completed her degree and graduated from Clark University. [SOURCE: Facebook]

Clark, you haven’t always been easy on me.

In fact, as soon as I found my fervor for Israel and began putting that passion to use, there were times when you left me feeling bullied, deeply pained, lonely, and drained. There were times when you left me in an isolated panic, wondering if I was truly strong enough to confront the torrent of animosity against Israel by myself.

But, in retrospect, I like to think of it all as tough love from you.

Because I ended up taking that loneliness, that pain, that challenge with which you provided me, and I ran with it.

Clark: you taught me that I, a once shy, soft-spoken girl, could reach inside of my heart and soul and extract a dormant courage.

You taught me that projecting a dissenting voice with truth and conviction, while terrifying, is also one of the most empowering experiences a person can have.

You taught me that believing in a cause to the point where it runs through your veins and permeates your existence can trump any instinct to curl up and close yourself off to the possibility of resistance.

Clark, you haven’t always been easy on me.

But in many ways, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Thank you for all that you taught me. You’ve made me strong.

Contributed by member of Clarkies for Israel at Clark University, Lilia Gaufberg.

Wall Brings Pro-Israel Pride to Cal State Long Beach

May 24, 2016

Hailed as their most successful event of the year, 49ers for Israel at California State University Long Beach (CSULB) set up a Peace Wall on campus. The wall was one of seven events held for Cal State Long Beach’s Israel Week 2016, which aimed to showcase Israel’s vibrant culture through art, music and food, while advocating for Israel’s right to exist in peace and security.

The Peace Wall is an initiative of Artists 4 Israel. The group was founded after a group of artists observed that during Operation Cast Lead, while Israel was being attacked by Hamas rocket fire, those who were attacking Israel were also attacking the arts: arresting, intimidating, and in some cases, killing artists who dared to express themselves freely. Even more disturbingly, the founders saw that these attacking groups were abusing the arts to spread lies and anti-Israel propaganda.

49ers Mascot piece by Artists 4 Israel.

49ers Mascot piece by Artists 4 Israel.

In response to the terrible situation, the founding members state that they “dared to draw the straight and unflinching line between the two points: artists’ rights equals the right of Israel to exist in peace and security”.

While on the Peace Wall, the four artists spray painted a beautiful image of the CSLUB mascot with “peace” written behind it, their focus went beyond creating art. The artists were proactive in encouraging students to come and share their own messages of peace on the wall.  The artists’ engaging manner had many students asking them questions about how it feels to be in Israel. Having students painting and talking at the wall attracted even more students, which meant that hundreds of students of all ages, faiths, origins, beliefs and ethnicities engaged in genuine conversations about Israel, community service and peace.

49ers For Israel pose with Artists for Israel in front of their Peace Wall.

49ers For Israel pose with Artists for Israel in front of their Peace Wall.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), accompanied by their anti-Israel and anti-Zionism signs, made an appearance at the event, and wanted to spray paint messages on the wall. However, once the students of 49ers for Israel explained to SJP what the focus of the event was, they decided not to protest the event.

Students paint the Peace Wall

Students paint the Peace Wall

Attracting an amazing diversity of students unaffiliated with Judaism or Israel and successfully deterring SJP from engaging in hate was a huge success for 49ers for Israel and partnering group Beach Hillel. A strong sense of accomplishment was felt by the students that day, who noted their sense of pride in being pro-Israel. Sadly, this sense isn’t always easy to come by as a student on Cal State Long Beach’s campus.

How Media Inaccuracies Hurt Israel on Campus

May 23, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Patrick Fox.

CAMERA Fellow Patrick Fox.

In the winter of 2015-2016, I was given the privilege and opportunity to travel to the State of Israel. A dream that had been mine for many years was finally realized. As the aircraft entered Israeli airspace, my excitement was palpable. As the plane touched down in the Holy Land, I gave thanks. It was truly an intense feeling, to finally be in Israel.

However, I also recalled all of the lies and inaccuracies that had been circulating on my school’s campus. “Israel is an apartheid state.” “Israel’s minorities live as second-class citizens.”  “Israel is racist.” By this time, I was in my third year of defending Israel on my campus. This year, I was a CAMERA Fellow. It was important to me that I see Israel for myself. What I found was a country whose values, people, and true face surprised and amazed me, and imploded the lies about this nation spread by malicious anti-Israel groups on my campus. The experience that resonated most with my campus was a lecture that my group received from the independent journalism group Tazpit News Agency.

Tazpit’s speakers took care to explain in great detail the unfairness and bias with which the great majority of foreign media reports on the State of Israel. They spoke of the flocking of foreign journalists to the American Colony Hotel, to the carelessness with which they cobbled together their reports.

Patrick Fox in Sderot, Israel.

Patrick Fox in Sderot, Israel.

During this particular segment of the presentation, I couldn’t help but think back to the time in a previous semester of college at Clark when I had the opportunity to meet Joseph Federman, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for the Associated Press. Federman spoke at length about his news agency’s prolific use of highly-unreliable “stringers”—unprofessional amateur journalists who work on commission to write stories in places where it would be unsafe or illegal for Jewish citizens to travel-such as area A, the region of Judea & Samaria ruled exclusively by the PLO.

With such a malice-driven atmosphere behind the dissemination of information regarding the State of Israel, is it any surprise that the climate and subsequent discourse on most campuses-including my own here at Clark- is so toxic? A man once said “A lie repeated enough times will eventually become a truth.” That man was Joseph Goebbels, a man whose anti-Semitic lies and inaccuracies surrounding the Jewish people were repeated so often and with such force in German media that they helped cause the worst genocide the world has ever seen—the Holocaust.

As an ever-optimistic college student, I wish to believe that a similar situation is not transpiring on college campuses—especially here at Clark. However when I see the unfortunate reality of campus anti-Semitism — today cloaked in the guise of “anti-Zionism”— I somehow end up dismayed. For when one examines the true definition of the term “anti-Zionism”— that the Jewish people have no right[s] to inhabit their ancestral homeland— or possess any form of homeland, for that matter- chills run down my spine.

Clark Students for Justice in Palestine.

Clark Students for Justice in Palestine paint media inaccuracies on a plasterboard “wall”.

If people are to pick a side on the so-called “conflict,” they ought to be fully informed regarding their choice. Media inaccuracies are indeed having a sinister effect at Clark and other college campuses. One need only look at a Clark Students for Justice in Palestine “apartheid wall,” or get a glimpse of the map of “historic Palestine pre-Naqba (hint: it encompasses the entire state of Israel) to understand the grave danger of biased and uninformed reporting regarding the one and only Jewish state. 

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Clark University, Patrick Fox.

An Open Letter to the Stanford Community

May 20, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Michal Leibowitz.

CAMERA Fellow Michal Leibowitz.

On May 14, 1948, in the small Tel Aviv Art Museum, the Jewish state of Israel declared its independence. The following day, Israel was attacked on all sides as the armies of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.

The intention of the five invading nations was clear. In the Egyptian newspaper “Akhbar al-YomAbd,” the Secretary-General of the Arab League declared: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.”

The Israeli Declaration of Independence followed the UN’s November 29, 1947Partition Plan (Resolution 181(II)) which aimed to create independent states for both Israel and Palestine. The Jewish residents of British-controlled Mandatory Palestine accepted the plan, while the Arab side rejected it. After many months of fighting, ultimately resulting in several armistice agreements, the fledgling Jewish state survived.

Today, Cardinal for Israel and the Jewish Student Association invite the greater Stanford community to celebrate Israel’s 68th birthday with a celebration of culture through music, food, and fun.

We ask that you recognize that Israel is more than its conflict — it is a country that many Stanford students call home.

The festival we’re hosting is not a political event — inasmuch as any celebration of any state’s independence can be termed apolitical – and we’d like ask that those who might be thinking of protesting reconsider their choice. It’s legitimate to criticize the policies of any country, and within certain frameworks, it’s legal to protest any event. But is protesting a cultural celebration – one meaningful to many in our student body – the way to create a community that embodies Stanford University’s founding values of “intellectual debate, the open exchange of ideas in the service of learning, and the creation of new knowledge?”

In the spirit of Stanford’s founding values, Cardinal for Israel would like to invite any students interested in political dialogue to visit the Florence Moore Lounge on May 23 at 6 p.m. for a roundtable discussion. And we would like to re-invite all students, teachers, faculty, staff, and community members to experience a piece of our culture today, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in White Plaza, as we celebrate Israel’s 68th birthday.

Best wishes,

Michal Leibowitz

Editor’s Note: After the event occurred, Michal submitted the following update:

“Despite our request to the Stanford student body, members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) tried and failed to disrupt our celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut. The culmination of 2,000 years of Jewish struggle for autonomy, Israeli independence is an occasion for celebration. SJP can never change that, nor can they stop us from celebrating our culture, heritage, and pride.”

Students celebrate Yom Haatzmaut at Stanford University.

Students celebrate Israel’s 68th Yom Ha’atzmaut at Stanford University.

Originally published in the Stanford Daily.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow and member of Cardinal for Israel at Stanford University, Michal Leibowitz.

On Iran’s Nuclear Violations

May 19, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

Last year, a nuclear agreement was established between Iran and the United States. The agreement essentially stated that tough sanctions would be lifted off Iran in exchange for the country’s word to end its nuclear weapon development. Since the deal was passed the seas have been quiet but recently, things changed.

In clear violation of the nuclear deal, Iran held multiple ballistic missile tests. This particular offense violates the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2331, which states that Iran is “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

Iranian officials have responded by saying that they will not cease these missile tests since it was not actually a violation of the agreement. According to Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps who is in charge of the country’s missile program, these missiles were tested for defensive purposes and the country will not stop this activity due to the fact that they are “always ready to defend the country against any aggressor.” Iranian Foreign Ministry officials have also spoken on the matter saying that since these missiles are not capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the tests are not considered a violation worth of sanctions.

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA

A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA

Here are the issues: A nuclear capable missile has been defined as any missile with a payload over 500 kilograms and a range of 300 kilometers. The missiles surpass normal range and weight that is considered internationally acceptable to be considered a nuclear capable missile, even though, according to Iranian officials, these missiles may not have been designed to carry a nuclear warhead. Some of the missiles tested by Iran carried 24 warheads and one ton of TNT, which would completely obliterate Israel.

Not only this, but to reiterate the actual threat, on the sides of the missiles, “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” was written. In fact, The Iranian Revolutionary guard’s senior commander was quoted as saying that these missiles were designed to strike Israel. This new turn of events has prompted Israel to step up and call for consequences against Iran’s violations, and rightfully so. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has released a statement calling for the UN to take “immediate punitive steps following the repeated gross transgressions by Iran in the matter of rockets.” Israel’s’ Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, has also come to the UN Security Council encouraging them to condemn Iran’s recent behavior. He also pointed out that the tests are a violation of the UN resolution 2331. This would be an outrageous violation and should not be overlooked, as it is a clear breach of the agreement.

The phrase “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth” is a direct existential threat to Israel and its people. This is not a defensive remark on the part of Iran. On the contrary it shows that they in fact desire an offensive stance against Israel. These type of long range missiles have the capability to cover all of Israel’s territory, proving to be a very real threat to the country’s existence in the Middle East. Israel is an important ally to the United States and this existential threat must be taken seriously.

The UN Security Council will be holding a closed door meeting to discuss this issue. According to Samantha Power, The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, the United States will hold said meeting and is encouraging other countries to cooperate in efforts to undermine Iran’s missile program that could be detrimental. These violations cannot occur. Existential threats to the lives of millions of people, and an entire state that is an ally to the United States, must be addressed immediately to avoid an enormous tragedy from taking place.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Baruch College, Sivanna Shusterman.

The Antisemitic Tuition Protests That Rocked CUNY

May 18, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

Recently at Baruch College, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) members gathered on the plaza outside to protest against CUNYS’ soon to be implemented tuition hikes. Most students are in an uproar about this recent change in policy but somehow, rather than discussing the issue at hand, it became an issue about Zionism. This was not an issue about Zionism though. The protest was simply used as an opportunity by the protesters to defame Israel and spread lies and propaganda.

The students that had been gathering in protests on CUNY campuses all over the New York City area, stated that these tuition hikes are the handy work of the Zionist CUNY administration who are essentially indoctrinating young professionals. Not only this, but the protesters who gathered at Baruch, screamed continuously that “Zionism is a racist ideology” and, “Racists’ out of CUNY!!”  Such damaging and untrue statements are not only unnecessary and irrelevant to the conversation at hand, but it is simply a tool being used by others to slander Israel, rather than actually discuss what the issues are.

Along with this fact, equating Zionism, the belief that Jews have a right to live in their own country, and racism, the idea of being prejudiced against another person due to their race, is incorrect and absurd. Zionism does not and will never call upon others to act in a prejudiced manner towards others based on their race or ethnicity.

Protestors at a march at Hunter College. [Source: YouTube]

Protestors at the anti-Semitic tuition march at Hunter College. [Source: YouTube]

Before this event had taken place, I had not seen or experienced any type of hostility nor have I ever witnessed blatant, negative, or damaging occurrences between the various groups and organizations that are present on campus. I have only seen positivity and peace on our campus especially when it comes to Israel. Israel is a big topic on all campuses and there are many students all over the country who have to come face-to-face with challenges that counter-organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine, and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) organizations, both of which have large national presences, present to the student population.   Since at Baruch these kind of demonstrations are rare, and there is no established anti-Israel campus group, the students who protested were all for the most part from other CUNY establishments.

At Baruch, students are able to spread a positive and honest message about Israel and the situation in the Middle East without violent interference.  When it comes to the Israel-Arab conflict, everyone has a right to voice his or her own opinion on campus and there should be nothing but an open forum for students to discuss the issues that are on their minds, but that forum should not be a place to incite hate and to place blame solely on one party. Not only this, but if a discussion is to be had then there is no room for inaccuracies or untruths, otherwise having a conversation is pointless and loses all validity. The environment that is fostered at Baruch has been one that is positive and supportive of Israel and the right for everyone to voice their opinions in a fair and honest manner.

However, this discussion is not what occurred at the protest. It was not about a discussion whatsoever. In fact, there was no dialogue to be exchanged. It was simply a way to further bash Israel and Zionism. These sort of events cannot be tolerated anywhere and at any time. Hopefully in the future there will not be a need, nor an opportunity for such hatred to be propagated on campus and instead, students will be able to come together on an open stage and discuss the issues at hand civilly, amicably, and honestly.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Baruch College, Sivanna Shusterman.

SAFI’s Immediate Success

May 17, 2016

SAFI, the Student Alliance For Israel-Madison, formerly known as Madison Friends of Israel, is the Emet for Israel group on the University of Wisconsin’s campus. Their kickoff event of the semester took place in early February, and since then they have gathered a good amount of attention from their fellow students. Unfortunately, a pro-Israel voice was becoming increasingly necessary in order to balance out the anti-Israel rhetoric on campus.

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The group has been incredibly successful in catering to their member’s needs and requests in learning more about the Jewish state. In the past few months, the group has created an Israel class, throughout which Israeli history, culture, and its current political climate is taught. The board has also established the SAFI Ambassador Program to give students a way of being more involved without committing to the course.

In addition to the kickoff event, SAFI has raised awareness about Israel through its weekly newsletter, a recent YouTube video it released, and its “Fun Fact Friday” social media campaign. Another effective initiative has been bringing speakers, including Joel Chasnoff, a comedian who presented the many facets of Israeli society.

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This CAMERA – supported group is looking forward to the many events and classes it will bring to the University of Wisconsin. At its inception, its main goal was to get more students to care about Israel, to begin asking questions about it, and to create a more balanced dialogue. Members are pleased that this objective has already been achieved to an impressive degree!

Chloe Valdary Inspires Zionism at Baruch College

May 16, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

CAMERA Fellow Sivanna Shusterman.

On Thursday March 31st, The Youth Organization for Israel, the pro-Israel organization at Baruch College, had the privilege of hosting Chloe Valdary. She is an African American pro-Israel activist, who speaks at various universities across the country about Israel activism and the importance of taking a stand to support the things that you believe in. She shared her experiences with various students present at the event.

She was born to a Baptist family, and at the age of three years old, her father began to ask questions about their religion and after some research he discovered the First Century Church, where the congregants that belonged to that church were in fact practicing in accordance to the Torah, the Jewish Bible. They were observing Sabbath, Kosher practices, celebrating holy days etc. This was something that greatly appealed to Chloe’s parents. In New Orleans, her family joined its new community.

As a result, Chloe grew up observing many of the laws that comes directly from the Torah and Jewish culture. This upbringing had a enormous effect on her and it influenced her to become even more immersed in Jewish culture and Israel activities.

When she arrived at New Orleans University, she was a film student, but she wanted to take a stance on her campus and stand up foo Israel and its’ right to exist. She started a pro-Israel group on campus sponsored by CAMERA on Campus, and began her activities which would create a new atmosphere on her college campus. She began to hold events, and table in order to get a positive message out there about Israel and what it stands for. She wanted to ensure that people understood what Zionism truly meant and that Israel was not a racist apartheid state like many have tried to paint it.

Chloe Valdary. [Credit: Chloe Simone Valdary Facebook Page]

Chloe Valdary. [Credit: Chloe Simone Valdary Facebook Page]

She was able to achieve this environment on her campus and today she works for the Wall Street Journal, conducting a study about pro-Israel activities on college campuses across the country.  Chloe was strong and she had the courage to stand up for what she believed in and for the truth. She encouraged us as a student body to continue to stand for the things that we believe in and to know that we can make a change and we can make a difference in our university environment if we put our minds to it.

As millennials we have the ability to change the world. We are the generation that will inherit the new world problems that trouble the world on a daily basis. It is our responsibility to stand up for what is right and create a better future for the generations to come. If we can lead by Chloe’s example and find the courage within ourselves to spread the truth and take action in order to create a better tomorrow, perhaps we will leave a better world for those who come after us.

Contributed by CAMERA Fellow at Baruch College, Sivanna Shusterman.

Media Bias: Addressing the Unaddressed

May 13, 2016

CAMERA Fellow Shoshana Kranish.

CAMERA Fellow Shoshana Kranish.

On April 4th, Syracuse Students for Israel hosted journalist Liz Wahl for an event educating the campus community on the issue of media bias, especially concerning Israel. Wahl rose to prominence following her on-air resignation from the state-owned Russia Today network after becoming aware of RT’s blatant censorship of Russian President Putin’s aggressive military actions in Crimea. Following her resignation, Wahl became the recipient of dozens of hateful messages calling her a ‘Zionist neo-con’ with ‘ulterior motives.’ With conspiracy theories swirling, Wahl made it her mission to look into media bias, specifically focusing on Israel, as many of the messages she received were related to the Jewish state. After traveling to Israel and touring the country and adjacent West Bank, she came to the conclusion that there is, in fact, an unfair media bias against Israel.

The event was meant to inform students, professors, and community members about this highly controversial topic that affects the way we, as engaged global citizens, take in news, and especially how the bias in this news affects popular opinion. It is no secret that Israel is a point of contention for many, and one of the biggest issues at stake when speaking about the conflict is that it is very often difficult to find objective news about it. Headlines often suggest things like “Palestinian shot after car ramming kills two” or “Palestinian apprehended by Israeli forces after Jerusalem attack leaves one dead” and the like – suggesting that cars and ‘attacks’ – instead of the terrorists behind them – are killing people. The word ‘terrorist’ is often left behind, seen as having political undertones, and so the word ‘militant’ often replaces it. But when the bombs went off in Paris and Brussels, the world was quick to denounce terror – and terrorism. Why is Israel so different?

Liz Wahl during a CNN Interview following her on-air resignation from RT.

Liz Wahl during a CNN Interview following her on-air resignation from RT.

Back in 2014, as Operation Protective Edge took the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians alike, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, spoke out on CNN against the blatant bias against Israel in the media. He slammed CNN for failing to disclose important information that made certain aspects of the war appear as if Israel was the sole aggressor. Specifically, his anger stemmed from the failure of CNN to share with its viewers that the schools in Gaza that Israel had targeted were buildings that Hamas chose to use as storage for rockets and other weapons. In choosing to do this, Hamas leaders knew Israel would take a lot of flack for their reaction, and CNN and many other reporting agencies and newspapers were complicit in this.

While media bias against Israel at SU is certainly not an issue of the same magnitude – if at all – there are still those who aim to delegitimize and demonize Israel through events and publications. A recent showing of “Roadmap to Apartheid,” a film that compares South Africa’s apartheid regime to Israel’s governance, attracted dozens of students. An article in the premier LGBT magazine on campus recently published an article that denounced Israel’s “pinkwashing” and cited anti-Israel activist Judith Butler, who has said that Israel is a colonialist and imperialist state. A semi-frequent publication called the Syracuse Peace Journal is often passed out on campus, with articles that promote BDS, call for an end to American military aid to Israel, and spread vitriol about Israel by labeling it an apartheid state. While talk of Israel and the Palestinians is not a campus-wide debate, it has the potential to become one, and with such bias already evident at SU, the disagreements are likely to be polarizing.

Having Wahl on campus provided an opportunity for students to recognize media bias as a problem that they both have a hand in and can work to reverse. One journalism student spoke about the Newhouse School’s lack of attention to this issue, and his hope to share the film with his professors in an effort to bring the problem of media bias to the forefront of the educational curriculum at one of the top communications schools in the country. Wahl noted that “even journalists are human” and that unintentional, unconscious bias is a part of the problem, but that consumers must be vigilant in what they read, see, and listen to. While this doesn’t eliminate the problem at the source, it does encourage individuals to recognize that not all news and news sources are impartial. Media bias is a problem that is invisible to most – Wahl hopes to challenge this, and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Contribued by CAMERA Fellow at Syracuse University, Shoshana Kranish.

Apply for the 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship here!

Celebrating Israel’s Independence on Campus

May 12, 2016

Yom Ha’Atzmaut is one of the most meaningful holidays in Israel. It is followed right after Yom Ha’Zikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror. Every year, the citizens of Israel make the transition from darkness to light, anguish to gratitude, death to life, tears to utter joy.

Throughout the country, people of all denominations and backgrounds travel the land, organize parties, concerts, BBQs, and hikes, to appreciate and celebrate Israel’s independence and founding. This year, Israel is celebrating 68 years since its birth, 68 years since the Jewish people declared official statehood. Across the Jewish world, in the Diaspora and in Israel, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is deemed one of the happiest days of the year.

David Ben Gurion Declaring Independence in 1948 [Source: Haaretz]

David Ben Gurion Declaring Independence in 1948 [Source: Haaretz]

Although Independence Day is being celebrated throughout Israel today, a number of CAMERA – supported groups celebrated the country’s independence last week. Friends of Israel at Virginia Tech and Bi-Co Friends of Israel at Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College hosted parties to celebrate another year of Israel’s independence. Many students gathered to participate in the festivities. These celebrations were shared by students of all different backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities. Jews and non-Jews, Israelis and Americans, came together to enjoy food, win prizes, and dance to Israeli music.

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The events were made up of multiple Jewish groups including, Alpha Epsilon Pi, The Jewish Student Union, Hillel, and other non-affiliated Jews on campus. Alongside these Jewish organizations, the gatherings saw members of Zeta Phi Beta, students of the Virginia Tech Honors College, and other individuals who sought to learn more about Israel. Along with the exciting and engaging activities that were organized, there were also education aspects. Attendees learned about Israel’s impact on the world technologically, economically, ecologically, and more.

With the combined efforts of students, faculty, BICEP fellows, Sababa Ethic Entrepreneurship Interns, and sponsors, CAMERA, Masa Israel Journey, StandWithUs, Hasbara Fellowships, and the Zionist Organization of America, these CAMERA-supported Israel groups successfully hosted the most notable Yom Ha’Atzmaut events in the past few years.

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Although these celebrations took place at the end of the semester, there is still a great deal to look forward to. During the events, students were provided with information on different programs and trips to Israel, as well as opportunities to engage with their campus leaders. Virginia Tech, Haverford College, and Bryn Mawr College received a refreshing taste of Israeli culture and society, as well as strengthened solidarity between these Jewish communities. Happy Independence Day!

Apply for the 2016-2017 CAMERA Fellowship here!