Lamed: Israel Education

Engage. Educate. Apply. Israel.

Lamed is a source for teens looking to expand their experience with Israel. Through engaging with Israeli culture and people, educating about politics and daily life, and teaching how to apply this knowledge in the world, Lamed aims to prepare teens with a well-rounded, multifaceted understanding of Israel so that information can be more evenly distributed to the next generation of leaders.

 
 
  • Samantha Brody

Online, Zionists Unite!

The first step toward making a difference for Israel is ensuring that Israel has support as an existing entity. We can't affect change in the domestic policies of a country that is attacked so viscerally from the outside that it ceases to exist. And it doesn't even need to be this extreme: so much of Israel's media space is taken up by reinforcing a positive image of its presence, there is hardly any space for internal conflict. That's why, while most countries use their official Twitters to make posts like this:

Israel's Twitter looks a bit more like this:

And even this:

Israel's social media accounts spend so much energy creating humorous, relatable, and fun content which hardly touch on the real issues facing society. Israel could use their media power to defend their political system, Netanyahu's policy decisions, or their struggles with internal social issues. However, @Israel doesn't put that at the forefront of their work, and maybe we should take note of that.

I'm not saying that these issues don't matter, and within Zionist circles, these various pieces should certainly be at the forefront of our discussions. What I'm suggesting is two modes of rhetoric: "reform" and "promote". 

Most progressive Zionists are particularly strong in the "reform" mindset: pushing for change in Israel's often right-wing government, standing against Bibi and his criminal proceedings, and speaking out against Israel's repeated expansions of settlements in the West Bank. They talk about Israel because they want to make it better for the future. This is important.

On the other hand, most conservative Zionists are strong in the "promote" mindset. They share their obsession with shakshuka and Fauda constantly and have inadvertently adopted Hebrew slang into their vernacular. To those in the "promote" camp, talking about Israeli culture and innovation is the keystone of being pro-Israel online.

These two ideas are both important, and they each have their place. But, as those on the Zionist side of any social media platform can attest, they tend not to coexist and often even butt heads. The phrase "two Jews, three opinions" is often employed when referring to religious debates, but it certainly applies to Jewish political advocates as well. However, it's important to remember that those opinions, or in this case, modes of thought, can and even should coexist.

Talking about Israeli technology isn't "propaganda". Talking about policy change isn't hateful nor anti-Zionist. It's all just talking about Israel. We have an obligation to share our favorite Mizrachi tunes and we have an obligation to talk about our hopes for peace. Remove the stigma behind talking about the Iron Dome and championing companies like Waze and Mobileye. Stop criticizing Zionists for talking about what they want to see change in the future. We are all part of one community, and it's time we start acting like it.

 

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