I feel extremely blessed to have grown up in a Zionist environment for my entire life. I go to a Jewish high school, where Zionist beliefs are a major focus. Until recently, I did not really understand the importance of advocating for Israel. I have never witnessed antisemitism firsthand, so I never had the motivation to advocate. I think that this is one of the many reasons why high schoolers often don’t seek out Israel advocacy opportunities or training. I also underestimated the impact that I could have. What difference could I possibly make as a seventeen-year-old inside my Jewish “bubble”?
As someone who is very shy and does not enjoy any form of public speaking, I assumed that although I was interested in Israel advocacy, it was not something that I would be able to do myself. Now, in my second year as a High School Intern at Hasbara Fellowships Canada, an organization that teaches students in high school and university how to advocate for Israel, I know that this is far from the truth. I have learned that there are so many ways to speak up, and anyone who is interested in advocating can find a way that works for them. For example, I have learned how to effectively use social media to spread positivity and shut down hate about Israel.
I have also learned many helpful tips & strategies to use when advocating for Israel. I now understand how important it is to stay up to date on current events. False claims about Israel are constantly being spread and in order to shut down these claims, we need to formulate strong arguments against them. Being aware of the situation in Israel is obviously crucial to being able to advocate for it. Social media is a convenient place to find information but one must make sure to verify the information as anyone can post almost anything..
After over a year of advocating for Israel, I have learned many lessons and skills. Next year, I will be in university where I will be exposed to a lot of antisemitism. I know that entering that environment with an understanding of how to advocate for Israel will be extremely important. Not only do I want to successfully advocate for Israel, but by doing this, I hope to inspire other teenagers and show them that it is possible to make a difference. We are the future, and if we want a bright future, we will have to work for it.