Faculty News

After Gaza

Faculty member Ella Ben Hagai recently published an op-ed in Haaretz. 

Gaza Protests

In "After the Gaza Deaths, Can This Summer's Birthright Trips Just Carry on as Usual?", Ben Hagai and co-author Steven M. Cohen explore the potential influence May's Gaza protests will have on the Birthright trip for Jewish young adult's teachings on Israel. 

"For years, Birthright has done its best to avoid a critical discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After Gaza, is that sustainable – or credible? Are Birthright participants growing weary of its 'sugar-coated Israel'?

As tens of thousands of Jewish young adults from all over the world prepare to go on their Birthright trips to Israel this summer, one has to wonder about the impact of this May's events in Gaza.

The 10-day free Birthright trip to Israel aims, among other objectives, to increase attachment to Israel and, indeed, as years of research have amply demonstrated, the experience does indeed have the intended effect.

But never before have Birthright trips followed so closely upon such controversial events as the Gaza protests and the 62 Palestinian fatalities that resulted.

Will this summer on Birthright be like any other? Or will we see the beginning of an historical shift that will make connecting young Jews with Israel more difficult and complicated than in the past two decades?"