5 Tevet, 5764
16 Student Organizations At Solidarity Summit In Jerusalem:
Shared Agenda With Israel At Its Center
Commonality was the unofficial theme of the Global Jewish Student Solidarity Summit that opened yesterday in Jerusalem under the joint auspices of the Jewish Agency and the Government of Israel, in partnership with Hillel-ICC and the World Union of Jewish Students, and hosted by Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky. With close to 1,000 Jewish student leaders from 22 countries - North America, the former Soviet Union, Australia, Europe, and South Africa - converging on the capital's Binyanei HaOoma International Convention Center, a sense of a shared agenda transcended differences of language, origin, and religious orientation.
Delegates from 16 different organizations, including the World Union of Jewish Students, UIA Canada, Yavneh Olami and Otzma filled the rooms and auditoriums, spilling over into the halls. Hillel sent the largest delegation, with 400 students, 360 of them from the US. High spirits were evident as spontaneous circle dancing broke out among the group to the accompaniment of a guitar. This marks the first time that so many different student organizations have come to a joint conference, and the first time that a large conference of students has convened in Israel.
1,000 students from throughout the world demonstrate
their solidarity with Israel today in Jerusalem
This three-day event, which features addresses by leading Israeli and overseas Jewish leaders and educators on various aspects of life in Israel as well as workshops on combating anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment on campus "links participants to each other and strengthens their commitment to making Israel a larger part of their own agendas," notes Ilan Wagner, Director of Student Activities at the Jewish Agency's Education Department, which organized the conference.
Although the agendas of the student organizations participating in the conference differ from country to country, overriding the differences is the connection to Israel as center of Jewish life today. In Uruguay, for instance, 2,500 young adults, whose parents were only dimly aware of their Jewish roots, regularly attend Hillel programs, where they learn about Israel and Judaism. UIA Canada focuses largely on combating anti-Semitic and anti-Israel manifestations on campuses such as York and Concordia.
The Jewish Agency is engaged in a worldwide strategic partnership with Hillel to provide training, guidance, materials, and other resources for student organizations as needed.
For further information contact:
Liaison to Foreign Press
The Jewish Agency for Israel