Kudos to Gary Rosenblatt for mapping out a more ideal approach to Israel advocacy (“We’ve Got It Backward, Israel Education Should Come First,” Between The Lines, July 22). He correctly diagnoses the problem of emphasizing “hasbara” while downplaying or even ignoring Israel education in general. Without a connection to the land of Israel and the State of Israel, advocates are left bereft of any core personal investment in the country. How can they fight the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement without understanding the importance of Israel to Jewish people and the world? In addition, defending the state without a profound knowledge of Israel’s history and culture is possibly more detrimental than remaining silent in the face of anti-Israel voices.
Because one of the main goals of Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi has always been to prepare students for secular colleges in the U.S. and Europe, we feel that enabling them to lead an intelligent discourse about Israel on campus is paramount. In light of our own critique of the situation, similar to that of Rosenblatt, we have spent this summer revamping our entire approach to Zionist education and Israel advocacy programming.
In order to meet this goal, we are partnering with Dr. Irwin Mansdorf and the Avi Chai Foundation to offer a broad approach toward Israel studies in order to ready our students for when they reach campus. Just as our main college preparation program has been a model for other institutions, we hope to set a new standard in the approach towards Israel as well.
Associate Director Yeshivat Eretz HaTzvi Jerusalem