Guest post from Israel Uncovered participant and president of Temple College Democrats at Temple University, Dylan Morpurgo. Two months ago I was preparing to travel to Israel with The David Project, and had thoughts, ideas, and questions about everything and anything pertaining to the county. What is the security situation like? How do Arab-Israelis see the conflict? What does the fence look like? How does a Shabbat elevator work? With The David Project’s amazing team, I was able to meet and speak with numerous people and engage on some of the most difficult topics I’ve had to grapple with. As many questions were answered for me on Israel and the conflict, I came out with just as many, if not more, questions.
Our trip brought together student leaders from around the country with varied backgrounds, many of whom never thought they would be traveling together abroad. Temple University had an amazing delegation of three fantastic student leaders: Alex Tung, the founder and President of TIPAC (Temple Israel Public Affairs Committee), and a pair of not so expected comrades. I serve as the president of my university’s chapter of College Democrats, and was invited to go to Israel with Erik Jacobs, the president of our university’s College Republicans.
Though Erik and I disagree on almost all political points, we both believe in our respective parties and their platforms. An integral part of both parties is the belief in the existence of a Jewish state in Israel, with the recognition of an undivided Jerusalem as the capital. Our experiences and takeaways were very different, but we both agreed in one area.
Coming back to campus in Philadelphia, far removed from the issues of the Middle East, it could be easy to get caught up in school, work, friends, and weekend shenanigans, but Erik, Alex, and myself believe in the mission of The David Project and wanted to engage students on campus about Israel. Having been back in the county for only a couple weeks, Alex already had an opportunity for all three of our organizations to come together.
Last Friday, the three organizations hosted a professor from Israel, Dr. Jonathan Fine, to speak about international security, Middle East politics, and the Arab Spring. The event, an educational experience for all involved, was exactly the place to start. Dr. Fine answered some of the questions I came back to America with, and of course more questions developed after he left.
As our fellow companion Andre Rouillard wrote, “Israel is complicated.” I may still have numerous questions, but will work through them. The three organizations, and the three of us individually, have established a respectable working relationship that should be envied by any student leader. This was just the first of hopefully many events to be shared between our organizations.