This year in March 2017, we went to the Annual Policy Conference of AIPAC. It was one of the best experiences that we had during this year. We got the opportunity to be part of this amazing organization that we barely knew about before.
When we just got to the Convention Center, we were struck by the number of people that were there to support Israel. The night before the conference started, we took part in a Havdalah ceremony that made us feel the pro-Israel vibe of the conference. We noticed that not all the people there were Jewish, but still participated in this event. Havdalah was followed by a great performance of a mind-reader and by the end we were looking forward to the Policy Conference to start.
On the first day of the Conference, we participated in the General Session that included all the 19,000 people that came to D.C. We saw some inspirational videos and heard from several people about the goals of this year’s conference. One of the most interesting things in this session was the part about the Israeli innovations. We got to see a machine that produces water from the vapor in the air and a smartphone for people with disabilities, both developed in Israel. This part was very meaningful for us because, in the past, we had taught several classes about Israeli inventions, and we were not aware of the water machine, and we got to see a disabled person using the smartphone. This made us teach about Israeli inventions with much more passion and pride in our lessons to come.
During this session, we also got the chance to listen to many leaders, Tony Blair, Steven Harper, Nikki Haley, Yitzhak Hertzog, Paul Ryan, Mike Pence and many others. As 19 year olds, we can’t imagine any other scenario where we could get the privilege to listen to all these people, and moreover hear them talk about the importance of the relations between the U.S. and Israel. This was a unique experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
When we registered for the Conference, we had to select our breakout sessions out of many choices in a variety of subjects such as: The Middle East politics, Israeli innovation, U.S.–Israel relations, etc. We had in total four sessions, one of them was about radical Islam in 2017. We learned a lot from this breakout and we found it important to know those facts, especially when we face people that ask questions about the Middle East. Another breakout that we went to was about Israeli ethics and how the IDF send their best soldiers to help countries that need humanitarian aid due to disasters. The speakers from the medical core of the IDF taught us things that made us proud to be Israelis and provided us a lot of resources for future lessons that we did.
The last day of the conference was lobbying with the Congressmen from our district, and we met Joseph Kennedy. It was a one-time experience to be in the Capitol and try to influence the representatives to support Israel. We can’t describe how important it is to meet the people and to advocate for Israel.
The theme of this year conference was “many voices and one mission.” We think this sentence describe exactly the nature of AIPAC, people from different backgrounds, religions, political beliefs, nationalities get together, and despite their different opinions and points of view, they all try to achieve one goal: to cultivate U.S.-Israel relations.