As American Jewry is grappling with how to deter delegitmization efforts against Israel and is experiencing polarization on how best to support the Jewish state, JCPA headed to Israel on its annual JCPA Israel Leadership Mission from December 4-11. The 20-person mission included eight Frank Fellows, five JCRC Directors, Board members, and JCPA staff. The goal of the mission was to help JCPA guide the community relations field to be nuanced advocates for Israel in the United States and provided us with an opportunity to share the view of the field with Israeli officials.
The mission focused on five thematic areas. These areas were chosen to help our local advocacy by seeing firsthand what was happening in Israel – both the challenges and gains. Through this experience, we can best help explain them and the complexity of Israel to those who could be influenced by anti-Israel voices.
Here are some of the amazing quotes that we heard on the mission:
“If you love Israel because you hate Muslims, we don’t want your love,” – Michael Oren, MK
“Young Jews now are not just falling away, but they are going to lead the attack” against Israel – Yair Lapid, NK
“I don’t want my sons and grandkids to be suicide bombers” – Saeb Erekat
“I wanted to say I was Jewish, but I was nervous because I had never spoken to a white person,” – Rachamin Elazar, (Ethiopian Jew)
“Blast injurious are awful. Recognizing the human hand behind them has been difficult to come to grips with.” – Ziv physician, Dr. Michael Harari
“Nothing destroyed our society more than ineffective government.” – Dr. Uzi Arad, Israeli National Security
“As long as there is any woman in this country prevented from running for office because of her gender, I am not free.” – Hamutal Gouri: the Director of the Dafna Fund of NCJW.
“We have to have the courage to talk about peace.” – Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa,
“There are glimmers of hope, even in the greatest darkness” – Frank Fellow participant
“[The mission] blew my mind and I’m really concerned that if I go on a trip/mission with another group, it’s going to be disappointing…” – Frank Fellow participant
“Spending quality time with other JCRC/JCPA people from around the USA with similar interests and being able to have deep discussions about these issues. An absolute 10 out of 10. Kol Hakovod.” – Leadership Mission Participant