Dozens of students, faculty and alumni of Zionist-oriented day schools in Long Island’s Five Towns were among an estimated 18,000 participants — including 4,000 campus representatives — at the annual AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington this week.
Delegates to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s major annual event had their Israel-advocacy batteries recharged and returned home with fresh insights and arguments to bolster the Jewish state’s cause. They participated in workshops and informational sessions, attended plenary sessions that featured leading elected officials, and in some cases spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying members of Congress on behalf of Israel.
“Now I realize the long-team effects BDS can have,” said Rachel Fishbein of Midreshet Shalhevet. “A college student on the panel told us that BDS will not go away, and we must respectfully answer back, with knowledge.”
Ayelet Klahr of HALB’s Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls, attending her third Policy Conference, was moved by the words of a survivor of the Rwandan genocide who related to Israel’s story. “AIPAC creates a way for every one to connect,” she said.
“I’m excited to go lobbying tomorrow,” said Malka Guttman of the Shulamith School for Girls. “Unlike a letter you might write to the president and never get an answer, here we get to speak face-to-face, in person, with a clear focus.”
“This year everyone feels very together [compared to] last year when it felt very divided, due to the political campaign season,” said Josh Weinstein of HANC.
“The sheer number of people here is amazing and inspiring,” said SKA student Talia Wein.