Unpack with YUPAC: Why the Pro-Israel Movement Needs Us
Fighting BDS, combatting antisemitism and defending Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish homeland are all staples of the pro-Israel student’s college experience across the country, but not for the students of Yeshiva University. We are surrounded by a vibrant pro-Israel community that fosters a love for Israel and creates passionate Zionists. But how does that love manifest itself here? YU can make it easy to feel sheltered from the “outside” world and forget that not everyone feels the way we do or believes in what we believe in. Instead of closing off, the objective for our insular pro-Israel community must be to be an incubator, a place that fosters the development of vocal pro-Israel advocates. Yeshiva University is the breeding ground for Am Yisrael’s leaders of tomorrow in all areas, and this should include the future leaders of the pro-Israel movement. We must translate our community's pro-Israel beliefs into action by leading the pro-Israel movement.
When I asked a friend why she thought it was important for her to be an active member of the pro-Israel movement, she answered something simple yet profound: “We have to know stuff.” In our interactions, now or in the future, people will see us and place us in their minds as the “Jew'' and, in turn, “the one who knows about Israel.” When the time comes that people turn to us as the “Israel experts” we must all be prepared to take on that role. Thankfully, YU offers many opportunities, both inside the classroom and beyond, to gain the knowledge and skills to be an effectively educated advocate for Israel. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities before us and fill up our toolboxes to the maximum possible extent. Rather than use our privilege of not having to directly confront anti-Israel sentiments as an excuse for passivity, we must relentlessly advocate for a more secure Israel and a stronger U.S.-Israel relationship.
Not everyone is politically inclined or interested in political activism, and that's OK. Just don’t show apathy to causes that need your backing. Jewish Americans could easily look at the current circumstance and think to themselves, “Israel is in a good enough place; they don’t need me to help advocate for them in the U.S.” But the reality is that each individual is an essential component of this movement. Advocating for Israel and finding outlets to express your love for Israel are not confined to calling members of Congress or volunteering during elections. Each and every person in our YU community is a unique character with interests or expertise that makes them a valuable asset to the pro-Israel movement. Whether it is using your love for computer design to make graphics that spread the truth about Israel on social media or partnering with a biotech company in Tel Aviv, we can all contribute to the continued advancement of the Jewish State using our unique skill sets.
Why should we do this? Because we are the ones being looked up to. We are the future of the Jewish nation, we have the environment that fosters a love for our homeland and we have the drive and the resources to be the movers and shakers. We, the students of Yeshiva University, cannot sit on the sidelines and wait for others to do the task that we were meant to do—to be the leaders of our people, be the advocates of our country, be the voices that are heard. We will each have our own path to achieving this, and now is the time to set ourselves on that course, prepare ourselves and discover how it is that we can actively participate in the pro-Israel movement.
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Photo Caption: Yeshiva University marching at the Israel Day Parade in 2022
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University