On September 17th, Ben Porat Yosef Junior High School and fifth grade students had an enlightening visit with a delegation of 22 Israeli hazbara (diplomacy/advocacy) students from the Israeli non-profit organization, “Generations of Israel,” founded and directed by Avraham Kook. The main goals of “Generations of Israel” are to strengthen Jewish identity and Zionism among youngsters in Israel and abroad, and to increase the affinity between Jewish people in Israel and the Jewish diaspora. In order to achieve these goals, the Israeli students are trained in advocacy and presentation, and then travel to communities all over the world to meet with students and leaders in education, Jewish organizations, and government officials.
Ben Porat Yosef fifth graders received presentations about the culture of Israel, with topics including sports, current events, music, culture and more, while the junior high learned about the importance of advocacy, and the background and conduct of Operation Protective Edge. As several of the presenters had been part of the IDF operation, they related to the students many of the complexities and dangers of conducting a war while adhering to a code of moral and ethical conduct, which is the credo of the IDF. The students were captivated, hearing many personal accounts from the Israeli student delegation, including learning in what manner the many terror tunnels were first discovered, the methods utilized in locating their many entrances, and their destruction. They heard depictions of how the rockets fired into Israel affected the population centers of the towns bordering Gaza and southern Israel, and from several of the Israeli delegation about the mechanics of the Iron Dome and its role in protecting the population. These personal narratives and portrayals brought to life many of the discussions that the BPY students have had at school and at home.
After their presentations and visits with the students, the delegation of Israelis had a lively question and answer session with BPY Rosh HaYeshiva, Rav Tomer Ronen, and Principal of General Studies Rebecca Hirschfield. They asked questions to learn about how the system of education in Israel differs from that of the yeshiva private education in the United States, and how they might utilize their own skills to advocate to students and communities around the world in the most effective manner possible.