Jake is part of a delegation of British pre-campus students who intend to be active in leading pro-Israel activity when they get to university. In Israel with StandWithUs UK, they are engaging in an intensive week-long summit prior to beginning their studies when they return home.

This is a daily diary of their experiences in Israel:

Day One

Our group traveled to the StandWithUs UK Israel Summit 2013 with high hopes, all looking to further our knowledge of Israel and become more confident in advocating for it on campus. It’s all very well reading history books, but I feel that a real deep understanding only comes from experiencing first hand the issues and seeing it for yourself.

calevDay 1 in Tel Aviv began with a briefing about the basic history of Israel from Calev Ben Dor, an analyst at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. From ancient history to modern, we reviewed the facts about the establishment of the Jewish state – it was an ideal start to the trip and gave us a solid foundation to delve further into the intricacies of some very complicated issues.

Then came the highlight of the day for me personally: a trip to Save A Child’s Heart at Wolfson Hospital, where we met a mother from Gaza City and her baby who had just had life-saving heart surgery in Israel.


Our group meets a mother from Gaza whose daughter is being cared for in Israel by Save a Child’s Heart

Her words were very powerful and had a profound effect on me. “Here we are not treated on the basis of race, religion or colour, only on the basis of humanity.” That encapsulated the nature of the charity – bringing children from all over the world, regardless of nationality, and giving them a chance for a life they would otherwise not have had.

ukMeeting a medical clown there to cheer up the patients and the first Ethiopian surgeon trained in Israel, who is looking after the children

An interactive tour of the Yitzchak Rabin Museum followed which was both informative and moving, plus a showing of The Case for Israel film with Alan Dershowitz. The film showcased some of the challenges that advocating for Israel will entail and I will feel more prepared for them after seeing it.

After some relaxing time the day ended with a meal at Tarabin restaurant and some very dodgy (yet entertaining) karaoke. A fun way to end a jam-packed day.

At dinner we all discussed our expectations from the trip – to see more, learn more, so we can teach more to others about Israel back home in Britain.

Myself and my fellow group members will be blogging our experiences on the Times of Israel each day.