This week, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) launched the 2013 academic year (southern hemisphere) with a dramatic visual campaign entitled “My Israel.”
The campaign, which touts Israel as a democratic and tolerant country, “is intended to present the Israeli story to the world through the eyes of nine Israelis who represent all shades of Israeli society," according to Leora Golomb, The Jewish Agency for Israel's National Shaliach to AUJS.
The campaign features the life stories of nine Israelis, who through their exceptional stories, capture the Israeli spirit and represent the Jewish State's multicultural nature. Among them are a Muslim who served in the IDF, the first female Ethiopian Knesset member, and a father who lost his daughter in a terror attack.
AUJS has put up thousands of the campaign's posters on campuses across Australia and New Zealand, has distributed thousands of stickers, and will run the initiaitve online, with a campaign website – www.aujs.com.au/myisrael – set up and through social media.
"We invite people from all over the world to contribute to this unique project and tell us about their Israel on the web site,” said Golomb.
She noted that the preparations had taken months and that the positive campaign was intended to provide a response to anti-Israel activity such as "Apartheid Week" which takes place on campuses around the world.
“I joined the IDF to give back to a country that keeps giving to me:” Abdol Abugosh, A Muslim Arab who defines himself as a Zionist and served in the IDF.
Shuki Hasson, a Druze student: “My Israel is diversity, pride and freedom. It is where I can be a part of a small ethnicity without feeling a minority."
AUJS National Political Affairs Director Dean Sherr said that the campaign was part of a broad strategy of advocacy through education, one that rejected hate and animosity.
“Our aim with this campaign is to educate students with a positive message about the real spirit of Israel that is so evident to anyone who has actually visited the country,” said Sherr, who is coordinating the campaign.
“The responses so far from the campuses have been very enthusiastic and the project has become a sensation all over the globe," Golomb said. She cautioned however that "Despite the positive nature of the campaign, on some campuses, anti-Israeli activists have attempted to rip down the posters.”
But find out for for yourself: check out the videos and posters above, and then go learn more here: www.aujs.com.au/myisrael