NEAR EAST REPORT AIPAC'S BIWEEKLY ON AMERICAN MIDDLE EAST POLICY

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Students gained insights into various facets of Israeli history and culture.
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Students from the trip will return to campus this fall to continue their pro-Israel advocacy.

Campus Leaders Experience Israel

Forty pro-Israel student activists and political leaders recently returned from the annual AIPAC Campus Allies (ACA) Mission to Israel. The 10-day AIPAC-sponsored trip brings a diverse group of non-Jewish campus political activists to Israel to experience the Jewish state firsthand.

Student leaders from College Democrats of America and the College Republican National Committee joined campus leaders from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Christian campuses and predominantly Hispanic institutions. In all, the attendees on this trip represented 37 different state schools and private universities.

The itinerary was replete with activities that ensured a rich and fulfilling experience. Students gained insights into various facets of Israeli history and culture. The participants visited the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem, toured a Druze village in the North, hiked Masada and explored the Golan Heights by jeep. The group also toured the Israeli Supreme Court and learned about the country’s judicial process. The ACA mission participants also visited the Mevasseret Zion Absorption Center, where they learned how Israel integrates new immigrants into society. “My Israel experience was truly rewarding,” stated Jamarr Brown, a graduate student at Clemson University. “From visiting the Dead Sea, entertaining the children at the absorption center and discussing foreign relations at the U.S. Embassy, I was able to learn more about a fascinating culture. I received the firsthand knowledge I need to be a powerful advocate for the United States-Israel relationship.” Brown is the vice president of College Democrats of America.

Learning About the Current Issues

ACA participants delved into many conversations about challenges currently facing Israel. Hearing the views of experts and decision-makers from across the political spectrum helped the students reach their own conclusions.

“After three years of taking courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the broader Middle East, nothing compares to actually visiting the area,” remarked Georgetown University senior Carlos Hernandez. “Seeing the intersection of three major faiths, immersing myself in the local culture and cuisine, visiting museums and memorials, interacting with the diverse populations and experiencing the reality of day-to-day living in a hostile region placed years of history, politics and policies in context for me.”

Students from the ACA Mission to Israel will return to campus this fall to continue their ongoing work with their peers and with members of Congress, to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship. Many of the participants will also join 400 campus activists later this month in Washington, D.C., for the Saban Leadership Seminar—an extensive, four-day training conference held twice a year.

Christina Lowe, an ACA attendee and an AIPAC Diamond Summer Intern, was one of several students on the trip traveling to Israel for the first time. “AIPAC has given me an incredible opportunity,” commented Lowe. “I can’t wait to go back to Utah Valley University this fall and start working with student leaders on campus to support Israel and the U.S.-Israel relationship. What I have learned from this trip and other AIPAC training seminars is that Israel is not just a Jewish issue—it is an American issue.” BACK TO TOP