Practical Suggestions for Activities and Programs to Aid Students’ Identification with Israel
Ideas by participants of the “Engaging the Disengagement” Online Discussion
and Semadar Goldstein of The Lookstein Center
1. Classroom debates:
a) A soldier’s dilemma – “What should I do? Should I risk my life to protect a handful of Jews in disputed territory surrounded by an enemy – or should I raise my gun against Jewish men, women and children and force them out of their homes?”
b) A general’s dilemma – “Armed terrorists are using houses in this street to attack us and fire missiles into Israel. We can easily destroy the houses but many old people and young children will be hurt since they live there – what should we do?”
c) Put a soldier on mock trial for “sarbanut” – refusing to obey orders. Is he compromising the security of the state or is he a conscientious objector – Note: this could apply equally to left-wing and right-wing soldiers.
2. Actual Contact with Israelis
a) Invite wounded soldiers or terror victims to talk in school – a network of schools could bring an individual over and s/he could spend one day in a different school. See http://www.israelsoldiers.org/about.cfm and here.
b) Schools can adopt a terror victim – learning about their rehabilitations and their struggles – with regular updates. Twinning of Bar/Bat Mitzvot can also be organized – click here.
c) Focus on/invite Israeli scientists, artists, doctors, social workers who have contributed to Israeli society.
Money can be raised for Magen David Adom
or ZAKA (Victims identification Unit) or many other organizations. Speakers for these can also come and speak.
4. An Israel Corner/Bulletin Board:
An Israel corner/bulletin board can be set up in a central school hallway – it can contain weekly national news, human interest articles and the sports news about local teams in Hebrew.
i) News articles can be easily downloaded from the following websites:
The J.P.C.A. “Daily Alert” – Subscribe by sending a blank e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Palestinian Media Watch” – Subscribe by sending a blank e-mail message to: email@example.com
Honest Reporting – see http://www.honestreporting.com
Local Hebrew newspapers such as Maariv and Yediot are also available abroad – pages and pictures can be cut out.
An excellent range of information can be found on the, “Beyond Images” – www.beyondimages.info/area7.html
British schools should join the BIG (British Israel Group) mailing group – they bring many articles from the British press and have ideas on how to canvass for Israel. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When a terror attack occurs or when a soldier is killed or wounded, pictures of the victims and a short biography can be put up in the “corner” – these can always be found in the press and on the One Family Fund website.
ii) Create an “Israel Tourism”/”Land of ISrael section in the Israel corner – that includes information and photos of places of interest not only places of religious significance. Tourists – not only Jewish – flock to certain points of this country because they are unique – the Dead Sea, kotel, Eilat, the whole kibbutz movement – etc.
Students can get updates on local Israeli sport teams and perhaps different classes can be encouraged to follow different teams. They can decorate their classrooms with a different teams colors. The standings of Israeli teams can be presented each week – especially the soccer and basketball teams that compete in European competitions. Useful websites for this purpose include:
Israeli Soccer team (English)
6. Student involvement:
- Assign different classes to publicize different regions of Israel and conduct a contest for best ‘portfolio’ or ‘advertisement’ created, etc.
- Celebrate Israel on days other than Yom Ha’atzma’ut.
- Twin classes with kibbutzim or moshavim, or the ‘big cities’ (though Israel is smaller than most states in the US – this can also be noted) and record milestones, etc.