This is the part of a series of live dispatches from our Write On For Israel students during their trip to Israel. Write On For Israel is a leadership training program for high school students. You can find out more about the program here, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for live updates throughout the trip and here for the daily roundups.
After an exciting first day, we woke up early, boarded the bus and headed to Baqua al-Gharbiyye, a Muslim Arab city in northern Israel. We had the opportunity to meet with four Arab-Israeli women in a peace center and afterward in local school. We heard about their experiences and opinions on living as a minority in Israel. We had an intimate Mifgash (cross-cultural peer meeting) in small groups. Many students in the Write On group noted how fascinating it was to meet with people who are a lot more similar to us than we expected.
While all of the women shared a similar background, they each shared their very different outlooks on their lives as women and Arabs in Israel; most of them explained that while they don’t consider themselves Palestinian, they see themselves as second-class Israelis, especially after the Nation State Law.
A highlight for the group was seeing some of the Write On students speak Arabic they had learned in SAR High School with the women and children at the school.
When we arrived in Jerusalem, we made our first stop at the Foreign Ministry. We had the honour of hearing from DJ Schneeweiss, a diplomat in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and from Emaunel Nahshon, a foreign diplomat for the State of Israel, who now serves as the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry. Schneeweiss spoke to the group about Israeli Advocacy in today’s world, offering strategic methods to advocate for Israel. He stressed the importance of knowledge and information, urged us to be critical of arguments made for and against the State of Israel and stressed the need to engage with people in order to form positive relationships.
Our second speaker, Emanuel Nahshon, spoke to us about the complications of diplomacy. He talked about the importance of social media and how it helps communicate with people across the world with ease.
We are looking forward to hearing from Yossi Klein Halevi and Kaled Abu Tomeh tonight in Jerusalem.
This post was written by: Louis Tuchman, Yaakov Fuchs, Eli Rifkind, Zeke Rosenblatt, Rachel Goldman, Aliza Mandelbaum, Danielle Mimeles, Remi Kauderer and Emily Turner