In today’s climate of dialogue and discourse, the lines between fact and opinion are often blurred, and misconceptions sprout, while actualities wither. Unfortunately, this inability to decipher fact from fiction is particularly applicable in the discussion of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Having spent the latter part of my high school years delving into the complexities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with programs such as Write On For Israel and the StandWithUs High School Internship, I feel equipped to defend and discuss issues surrounding the conflict. However, when I discussed the modern-day Palestinian-Israeli conflict with my peers, I noticed an issue—Jewish students that I had gone to Day School with for many years would unequivocally defend statements and ideas about Israel, without having any facts to defend their claims. Blindly defending beliefs is a dangerous game to play because, without knowledge of the facts, you can never have a productive conversation with someone who has differing opinions. It was then that The Truth About Israel was born.
Once we are educated on the conflict, we can ensure that any dialogue we engage in will be productive and move towards a common understanding of the truth about Israel.
This past year I was privileged to be one of 88 high school interns for StandWithUs, an international, non-profit organization that believes Israel education is the road to peace. One of my internship requirements is to create four events or programs that students in a particular aspect of Israel or the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When I attended the StandWithUs fall conference in Los Angeles earlier this year, I envisioned creating a website that can serve as an easily-accessible educational tool for information regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I am elated to announce that in credit to Eitan Gutenmacher, the website designer, and StandWithUs’ uncompromised guidance, I have fulfilled my vision.
The Truth About Israel is open to all who want to learn more about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. More often than not, news outlets and public officials misrepresent the facts of the conflict and conflate common misconceptions as truth. As a result, Israel has become demonized and vilified, tainting any opportunities for a productive dialogue on the conflict.
The responsibility to amend the fallacies that have been flung on Israel must be undertaken. We have to defend Israel and arm ourselves with knowledge. We are the rising generation who will be the future representatives in the government, discussing the issues of today. Once we are educated on the conflict, we can ensure that any dialogue we engage in will be productive and move towards a common understanding of the truth about Israel. On the site, you can find fact pages to that provide clear evidence in regard to the conflict, personal interviews with Israeli Defense Force soldiers to better understand the Israeli military and blog posts that share the opinions of individuals on our team on current topics in the conflict.
The Truth About Israel’s greatest feature is that it enables anyone the opportunity view common misconceptions about Israel such as the fact that Israel is an apartheid state, Zionism is racism, the Jews have no connection to Israel and many others. We compiled our information after scrounging through articles, books and documents to decipher what is fact, fiction and opinion. I am proud to have created a resource where everyone can become educated on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because now everything can be found with a simple click of a button.
Sruli Fruchter is a senior at Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva HS For Boys in Woodmere, N.Y.