Young adults say ‘Yesh’ to Israel

Participants on ZCNSW’s Yesh program in Jerusalem.

THE third group to participate in the Zionist Council of NSW’s Yesh program returned from Israel last month.

The annual program offers young adults who have already been on an Israel program the opportunity to return for a two-week, in-depth immersive Israel experience.

“I came on this program to see Israel with fresh eyes,” participant Sevilla Kornfeld said.

“This is not your typical Israel program, it is an adventure I will never forget.”

The program is underpinned by three concepts – activism, Israel as the start-up nation, and community.

To become better activists, participants were taught advocacy skills to challenge anti-Semitism and the anti-Israel boycott campaign, particularly on campus.

In addition to engaging in a number of sessions with advocacy group StandWithUs, the group worked with Neil Lazarus, an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of Middle East politics, Israeli public diplomacy and effective communication.

They also met and engaged with Palestinian speakers and were taken on a private tour of the Israel-Syria border to learn about the complex issues facing Israel daily.

In Jerusalem, participants met with PresenTense – a community of innovators and entrepreneurs, thinkers and leaders, creators and educators from around the world, who employ entrepreneurship as a tool to enrich communal life, grow local economies and solve critical issues facing society.

In Tel Aviv, participants had the opportunity to take part in a bootcamp experience with the Australian Landing Pad at SOSA.

At the conclusion of the program, the group met SpaceCom, a leading global fixed-satellite operator that serves the media and broadband industries.

To learn about the importance of community and the diverse communities that contribute to Israeli society, participants met with a Druze community in the far north of Israel in addition to members of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Meah She’arim in Jerusalem.

Another highlight was meeting with a community of street artists in Tel Aviv who use graffiti to voice their political opinions.

A very special visit was also organised to Beit Halochem (ZDVO), who work to rehabilitate injured soldiers and victims of terror.

Participants also enjoyed lunch at a winery in Gush Etzion, ATVing in the Judean Hills, waterskiing over Lake TLV and an overnight hike and camping on the Shvil Israel trail.

Yesh is made possible by longstanding ZCNSW donors and supporters.

For more information on Yesh 2019 email [email protected]

AJN STAFF