How my trip helped me develop as a campus activist - Inbar's blog on Freshers Israel Experience

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Inbar with the Freshers Israel Experience group at Netiv Ha'asara

The Freshers Israel Experience was an eye-opening trip that gave me new insight and knowledge about Israel. The jam packed five days we had in Israel were full of expanding and inspiring educational visits, and talks through the whole of Israel, from Tzfat down to Sderot and Netiv Haasara.

We tackled issues that mattered to us and faced difficult debates with speakers and participants within the group. Being with such a diverse and large group indicated that we all had different opinions and thoughts on different matters. This meant that we encountered others’ views and took them on, helping to enrich our knowledge of strenuous dilemmas involving Israel. 

Before meeting an expansive supply of vehemently opposed opinions to mine on campus, I wanted to root my views. This was majorly taught to us by Charlotte Korchak, who set out the facts and figures about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on our first day in Israel. This helped me shape my viewpoint of the situation and form and accurate and compassionate stance on the conflict.

During the trip we watched ‘Rock in the Red Zone’, an intimate portrayal of life on the edge in the war-torn city of Sderot. This is a view from the ground movie of a story by Laura Bialis, a resident of Sderot. This movie was one of the most emotional, uplifting and inspiring moments I endured on the trip due to its personal context and storyline. It was majorly impactful since we walked around Sderot beforehand, and visited sites where rockets fell. During the movie you felt as if you were re-living life in Sderot during the time when over a dozen rockets fell each day and injured or killed a large amount of people.

Understanding the history of the West Bank played a major part for me. Learning about the complex ideas with Palestinians and with residents of Efrat was challenging, but seeing the boundaries of Gush Etzion on a map put into perspective how we gathered such diverse opinions on the matter, and how to tackle difficult questions asked by students on campus and educate on the truth where it is scarce.

Another highlight of mine was having Natan Sharansky express his story and his views and opinions, which were all fascinating.

As a student at UCL I will face many challenges with different view and I would like to thank the organisations involved for organising the most informative and engaging trip. A special thanks to the amazing team that led us, Matt, Dan, Natasha, Jeremy and Naz. The 25 young students that attended this trip have all developed new opinions with more exciting and intriguing facts, who will all hopefully be part of the next generation for Israel advocacy on campus.

Inbar Langerman, UCL J-Soc

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