By: Shanee Markovitz | Opinions  | 

Your Voice in the Pro-Israel Community

I am just nineteen years old. I am just a college student. I do not make money yet; I just have time to give. What can I possibly contribute to the pro-Israel community?

The answer: your voice.

Welcome to the America of 2018, where polarization — when one’s stance on a given issue is determined based on their identification with a political party — is excruciatingly high, and partisanship prevents so many from coming together on basic issues or even communicating on any deep level. In this America, it is hard to imagine both parties coming together on any issue, including America’s relationship with Israel, but that is exactly what happens. In reality, Israel is one of the only issues that has managed to remain mostly bipartisan in this day and age. This bipartisanship exists even here, at Yeshiva University, where we all can and should come together to use our voices to engage in the pro-Israel community with our unique perspectives.

Why do we care? Why would we want to be part of this pro-Israel community?

On the one hand, there is the constant hardship that the Holy Land has to deal with.

Terrorism is prevalent: Just last week, on Oct. 7, Ziv Hajba, 35, and Kim Yehezkhel, 29, — both parents of baby children — were murdered by a Palestinian coworker. Last month, Ari Fuld, a beloved teacher and leader in the Jewish community was stabbed in another terrorist attack and his attacker is getting paid by the Palestinian Authority for this horrific act.

Hamas has sent hundreds of kites on fire into Israel in order to cause fear and to cause damage. Rockets continue to be launched at Israeli civilians, causing those amongst the border to live in constant fear.

The threat comes from further away as well, where, in the midst of its civil war, Syria is being used by Iran to hold Iranian military infrastructure that has the potential of creating precision missiles aimed at Israel. Additionally, Iran has smuggled weapons and missiles there as well, and even actually launched a drone into Israel earlier in the year, serving as the first direct attack at Israel from Iran. Iran also uses Lebanon and Hezbollah as a proxy, storing well over 100,000 rockets there. These rockets, especially if launched in large quantities, are close enough to seriously harm Israel and Israeli civilians. The weapons are no longer farther away in Iran, but rather right by Israel’s bordering countries.

On the other hand, this is an exciting and historic time for the US-Israel relationship.

Despite the controversy surrounding the timing and method that the President chose in relation to these events, the fact that the U.S. formally recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and even moved the embassy serves as a milestone for both America and Israel in their relationship with one another. Congress has allocated over $3 billion to go towards Israel again this year, mostly towards military and defense spending back in the United States.

In other words, things are happening in Israel in addition to its general thriving advancement and innovation — good things and scary things. This is precisely why getting involved in pro-Israel activism is important right now — we have so much to celebrate and so much more to defend and protect.

There are also things happening in the United States that may shift the nature of the US-Israel relationship: The “e” word: elections. Midterm elections approach quickly, and this is yet another election cycle where over 50 members of Congress are retiring, meaning that there will be at least 50 new members in the House of Representatives. Fifty people that can be the biggest supporters of Israel. Fifty people that can be completely unaware of the issues pertaining to Israel. Fifty people that can be harmful to our current US-Israel relationship. At least 50 members of Congress in need of a relationship with members of the pro-Israel community. That is before you take into account that Republicans, the party in office during this midterm elections, may lose over 30 seats if this election follows the statistical forecasts — and that about 40 new candidates have already been chosen in primaries. This is such an important and influential time to get involved in pro-Israel activism.

But I am just a college student...

That is exactly the point. This is the time in our lives where we have time, and where can invest our voices into our passions. No matter what side of the isle we are on, no matter where we come from and what we do as hobbies. No matter our majors, no matter our class standings, no matter any one of our differences — we care about Israel. And it’s about time we do something about it as a University. It’s about time we use our voices and act on our right as U.S. citizens to engage with our representatives and tell them — as their voters — what we need them to care about.

You do not need money to lobby a local elected official. You do not need a job. You need a voice.

You have a voice, and collectively we have a loud one that is an important for the pro-Israel community as a whole.


Photo Caption: College students have the power to make a difference in the pro-Israel Community

Photo Credit: The Diamondback