The Israeli Experience

When I first signed up for this trip, I was a sophomore who hadn’t been abroad, and had no interest or intention of doing so.  When I came back, I now look at the trip as one of the best experiences of my life.  We learned about the basics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history, the arguments, the rhetoric, etc.  but more importantly, we learned about the people.  Learning about the conflict from those who live it is not something that is easy to do in a textbook, or portray through a documentary.  This was the most crucial and irreplaceable part of the trip for me.  Hearing stories of military service, imprisonment, checkpoints, and terrorist attacks, from those who lived them was incredible.

The variety of experiences and opinions we heard were similar to if someone were to go to the USA and ask “what do you think about President Trump?”  The answer is not really a yes or no question.  There are hundreds of answers to it, and you would get wildly different answers if you were to ask a college professor from New York, or a state senator from Alabama.  This is something I cannot express about the trip enough.  The sheer number of people we spoke with alone expressed the diversity within Israeli-Palestinian society and that was a real treat to see.

Amaya said it best with “the more you learn, the less you know.”  I started on  this trip knowing about as much as the average American political science student, indifferent, but mostly pro-Israel.  Leaving, I can’t quite tell what “side” I’m on per se, but I can certainly say that the conflict is more complex than I ever thought, and the solutions to it, even more so.  I would definitely go on this trip again even knowing what I know now because every time I would return is another chance to hear more stories and tales that I had not heard already.  Above all, remember, its a security fence, not a separation barrier.

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