Each year that I attend AIPAC Policy Conference, I find myself leaving Washington with more knowledge and more fervor than I entered with, even though it was just three days earlier. This was my third time at Policy Conference, and the impact that it has had on me each time has inspired me to get involved outside of the three days in the District of Columbia. After attending the Alexander Muss High School in Israel during my spring semester of 2015, I have had a lasting drive to further the pro-Israel movement and embrace the Jewish state in whatever way I can.
Being a high school senior at Livingston High School, I have rarely been exposed to so much of the anti-Semitism that is present in a large portion of the country. But, I know that as I enter my college years (at a school that I have yet to decide on), I will be faced on my campus with the notorious challenge that is the anti-Israel bias. Going to Policy Conference helped me to prepare my arsenal of knowledge that I can use to stand up for Israel, and it also confirmed the notion that Israel is something I am passionate about and will always hold close to my heart. Both the individual breakout sessions and the general sessions were engaging ways to relay important information about the Jewish state and its neighbors. Even the segment about Israel’s new technological innovations, like creating drinkable water out of thin air, added so much to the program.
The segment that was most important to me, though, was the breakout session titled “Women and the Struggle for Human Rights in the Middle East.” Being both an avid feminist and fervent Zionist, I was intrigued to learn about the advancements that women are making in their respective countries — both Arab and Jewish alike. I am also currently writing a research paper about this exact topic for my senior English class, and the impressive panel in that session helped me to grasp further what I had been researching. I think that if women are enabled in their economy and in their society, that country will be better as a whole, and this session confirmed that belief and backed it up with credible stories and statistics.
Also, after attending the college fair, I was reminded of how I want to participate in my campus’ AIPAC delegation and/or other pro-Israel groups. I spoke with many students who are active in their school’s pro-Israel community and they inspired me to try and make a difference in my own community. I will definitely be attending Policy Conference again next year, and I can’t wait to bring my experiences in college with me to Washington in 2018.