To give future leaders of the Jewish community the background and tools to deal constructively with the Arab-Israeli conflict in their home communities. To enable them to learn about the intricacies of the conflict, and to hear many Israeli viewpoints on it, in a safe and non-judgmental setting.
Perspectives seeks to work with post-college students from the Diaspora, critical thinkers who are studying at Jewish studies institutes. These students are future rabbis, educators and activists and represent the next generation of Jewish community leadership.
Many Israel trips only present one segment of the Jewish side of the conflict, while ignoring other voices. Furthermore some have a specific agenda which they try to impart.
Perspectives Israel believes in presenting a wide kaleidoscope of views on the conflict. This is done in a non-judgmental setting where participants are encouraged to develop their own views while engaging in critical thinking.
A willingness to listen to other voices and to step out of one’s comfort zone.
We all have our biases and our own viewpoints, especially on a topic so charged and sensitive as the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Perspectives will do its utmost to provide a program that presents a wide variety of different, and oftentimes conflicting perspectives. We cannot promise that the program will be 100% balanced, especially as the definition of a balanced program might depend on one’s views. Nonetheless, with the ability to tap into a team of consultants and experts from across the political spectrum, Perspectives will do its best to devise a program that presents many viewpoints.
There are several other programs which present Palestinian and/or Israeli Arab viewpoints. Within the time frame of Perspectives it is not possible to present every possible viewpoint on the conflict. Perspectives Israel chose a specific spectrum (Jewish-Israeli) and within that spectrum is trying to present a wide variety of views.
Furthermore, we felt that having a ‘token’ Palestinian or Israeli-Arab viewpoint within our trip would be insulting to the intelligence of our participants. We felt that if we could not cover the Palestinian or Israeli-Arab side right then we should not make any claim to cover those sides. For those wanting to hear such viewpoints there are other programs available.
After the trip participants will be asked to contribute something from their experiences during the trip. This could be in the form of an article, story, drawing, picture (with captions), or any other medium that the participant wishes to use. This will allow participants to share their views with others. The entries will be posted on a blog set up for this purpose, though participants will have the option to keep their entries anonymous.
Alumni will also be invited to post on the Perspectives blog. This will enable alumni to contribute and become active participants in dealing constructively with the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially as it manifests itself in their home communities upon their return home.
Perspectives Israel will show you how Israelis grapple with a whole range of sensitive issues arising from the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hearing their stories and interacting with them will give you greater depth into the range of responses and the diversity of thought existing among the Jewish-Israeli public. When you have to deal with the conflict upon returning home, in whichever way it may manifest itself, you will have the knowledge and the tools to deal with it in a more constructive manner.