Months of hard work paid off in ensuring professional internship placements specifically matched to the individual’s needs.
The first ever South African/ Australian Onward Israel group included 9 participants - a contingent of Caledonians: Luigi Bonfig, Carla Frumer, Simone Abramson, Amy Kessler, Mark Brown and Michal Dahan. Johannesburg based Ariela Carno and two Australians: Adina Lieblich (Perth) and Sarah Diner (Melbourne).
In the first two weeks of the program the participants learnt about the fundamentals of Israel advocacy and argued about the value of international law. They embarked on their internships, which covered a diverse range of organizations such as the NU campaign and NGO monitor.
Over the next weeks the participants had the opportunity to take the knowledge they gained during the program and learn to apply it in a practical way. They met Neal Lazarus, a communications expert who threw them into the deep end in terms of tackling difficult questions. Together they learnt how to humanize, address, and re-frame messages. In addition to this strategy being useful for advocating for Israel - it was also a lot of fun!
In the final weeks, the participants attended the World Union of Jewish Students conference, where they met Jewish students who advocate for Israel from over 15 countries and learned from sessions that focused on anti-Semitism and inter-faith. They also visited the Knesset, and ended the conference with elections for the new Chairman.
Their internships also came to an end, and they concluded their Israel experience in the North for a fun bonding day on the Jordan River. They biked alongside the river and visited a chocolate factory. They concluded the week with Shabbos at one of the madricha’s apartments, where the enjoyed Mizrachi food and good wine!
On the final day they presented their internships to the Israel Experience staff and enjoyed a last group lunch.
In January 2014 the participants returned to their respective countries, enthusiastic and learned about Israel Advocacy and equipped with new tools. One participant described the experience as being “incredibly enlightening”.
Two of the participants from the South African contingent were the national chairperson of the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS), Ariela Carno and Luigi Bonfig, chairman of SAUJS at UCT.