Trip Blog: Day One

January 7th, 2014

Editor’s Note:  Cathy Bezozo, AJC’s National Associate Director of Development, is in Israel with AJC’s Project Interchange Seminar for University Provosts and is blogging about the delegation’s experiences.

An AJC Project Interchange trip to Israel  has been compared by some to looking through a prism; the more you look, the more facets and features you discover and no perspective is the same as another.

The delegation of university provosts and deans are now all together in Israel, after disrupted travel plans due to the snow across the U.S.  We just concluded a wonderful dinner together, at which we were honored by the participation of the Mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai.

However, before dinner, we spent the day learning about Palestinian and Israeli Arab perspectives of life in Israel and Jewish Israeli advancements and hopes.

Dalia Fadilah and Mohammad Darawshe provided deeply personal narratives of what they and their ancestors have experienced as Arab Israelis. They also discussed the education of young Arab Israelis, which was of particular interest to the deans and provosts.

During the day, several provosts and deans remarked that they’re impressed with the openness of the Israeli society and the speakers.

Ziv Koren, an award-winning photojournalist, provided a visually arresting juxtaposition of the diversity of Israel through his stirring and beautiful photography.

The delegation also had the opportunity to hear from Inon Beracha of PrimeSense, which was just purchased by Apple. PrimeSense clearly demonstrates Israeli expertise in the high tech field, recognized the world over.

We were also treated to a fascinating conversation with Ambassador Itamar Rabinovich, who talked about the plans of the Israel Institute to bring more Israel studies programs to American universities. There were a number in the group that noted that they will already be following up!

Tomorrow promises to be another busy, educational, and exciting day with expert briefings on the peace process, meetings at Tel Aviv University, and a unique performance of Na’Lagaat, a unique deaf-blind acting ensemble.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Project Interchange.