Who they are: Wildcats for Israel advocates for Israel as a secure, Jewish and democratic state.
What they do: Wildcats for Israel organizes events to increase people’s knowledge of Israel and to help people become more informed about it. Wildcats for Israel hosts speakers who talk about many aspects of Israel: the economy, the conflict, the society, the culture and more. Most recently, they participated in a week long event called “Israel Week,” which was led by the Israel Week Board. Each day, there was a different event dedicated to Israel, whether it be a Yom Hazikaron ceremony or an Israeli cooking class.
Goal: To raise awareness of Israel and strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship.
Freshman Emily Shteynberg said that the Israel Week Board considered different venues for the Yom HaZikaron ceremony, Israel’s official remembrance day, but ultimately decided Hillel would be the best location as it is central to Jewish life on campus.
“I think it's so important to remember and commemorate [fallen soldiers and civilians],” said Shteynberg. “I think that especially having family in Israel has really made this holiday even more important for me. It's personal when you think about your cousins serving in the army and how scary it can be.”
Israeli Fellow Reut Tzadok helped organize Israel Week and helps lead Wildcats for Israel. During her Yom HaZikaron speech, she spoke about how when she was little, her father told her she wouldn’t have to worry about joining the Israeli Defense Forces because by the time she was old enough to join, there wouldn’t be fighting anymore. However, as she reflected on his words, she saw this is far from the case.
“I would say first of all, that every new board can shape the goals, it's really on them which way they want to take it, it could be about Israeli culture or politics…” Tzadok said. “Another goal is increased awareness around specific topics in Israel. For example, we had a lecture about how the conflict affects the economy.”
What they are up to right now:
Most recently, Wildcats for Israel hosted Israeli Journalist Itai Anghel. Anghel is constantly risking his life to get the inside scoop on whatever conflict it is that he is covering. Recently, Anghel says he concealed his Israeli identity with a foreign passport and papers in an attempt to penetrate ISIS. Once crossing from Turkey to Syria, he was able to successfully interview members of the terrorist group and even prisoners. During the talk, Anghel spoke about the importance of looking calm when undercover, because sometimes it can be a life or death situation. He ended the talk with an emphasis that contradicted a lot of news we have recently seen about ISIS. He said that while the ISIS that we once knew is dying down, they have new tactics. Many members of the group have shaved their beards and integrated into society to wait for the right time to attack.