Opinions & Commentary

StandWithUs stands with Israel

Last week, we reported on two activities of StandWithUs, one of the new wave of Zionist organizations that works to educate supporters, detractors and everyone in between about the Jewish state and its vital place in the world.

In one story, we noted how StandWithUs works in traditional settings, teaching high school and college students about Israel and enabling them to create pro-Israel communities at their schools. In the past decade, StandWithUs has brought hundreds of students, including dozens from New England, to its Los Angeles headquarters for these programs.

In the other, we noted how StandWithUs works to educate the population at large about anti-Israel sentiment, like when, in the past month, it picketed concerts by vocal BDS supporter Roger Waters in Boston and across the Northeast.

Annually, the group brings members of the Israel Defense Forces to tour U.S. institutions. In the coming weeks, six pairs of soldiers will tour the U.S., discussing their experiences in the army and their lives in Israel.

Locally, we will meet Karen and Haitham (their family names are withheld for security reasons).

Karen, 24, studies politics and government at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Raised in New Jersey, she made aliyah on her own at age 16. Karen finished high school in Israel and enlisted into the IDF, where she served as a basic training commander and later on with the paratroopers.

Karen’s greatest passion is helping street animals; during her free time, she volunteers at shelters and finds them warm, caring homes.

Haitham (Tom), 30, was born and raised in Bir al-Maksur, a Bedouin village in northern Israel, to a Bedouin father and Arab mother. His tribe emigrated from Syria to Ottoman-controlled Palestine in the late 1800s. While living in Eilat, he was drafted into the Israeli Air Force and served in the Iron Dome unit. Today, Tom studies law, government and management at the Academic College for Science and Law. He works for Acharai (“Follow Me”), a nonprofit organization that prepares teens for their military service and guides them to be more socially involved and responsible.

As of this writing, the duo will appear at Northeastern University on Nov. 2; at Temple Emeth in Chestnut Hill on Nov. 4; and at Chabad of Canton on Nov. 5. We encourage you to stand with them, just as they stand with, and for, Israel.


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