It’s really a huge disappointment that youth leaders (madrichim) leading our young people on the Israel Tour feel it necessary to write and sign a letter to the organisers stating they will visit Judea and Samaria during the day but refuse to spend one night in the region.
These tours were designed to offer our Jewish youth an inexpensive way of seeing Israel, meeting new friends, learning Jewish history and receiving some good old fashion Zionist education.
In a true democracy like Britain and Israel, everyone should be free to choose which group to support and which political party to cast their vote. But some of these mentors appointed to lead our youth on the Israel tour are completely ignorant of Jewish history, Zionism and even international law.
Their agenda is to instruct participants into what to believe, how to feel and who to oppose.
What is the point of the UJIA spending millions subsidising our young people to visit Israel, if the appointed youth leaders refuse to acknowledge what international law actually states and the existential threat Israel faces on a day-to-day basis?
As a former speaker for the Jewish Agency, Israel Experience and other organisations visiting Israel, I once accompanied a group to the old city of Jerusalem in 2007. The secular Israeli who did not know the difference between a matza and a lulav said, “This is the Western Wall, holy to both Muslims and Jews”. I asked, “If it is so holy to the Muslims, why did they turn it into a rubbish tip for so many years?”
Why are we feeding this nonsense to the younger generations?
These tour leaders state that Israeli Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are illegal and an obstacle to peace. But they refuse to mention the illegal building of Palestinian homes in Area C.
They refuse to acknowledge that the official policy of the Palestinian Authority continues to be huge monthly payments to kill Jews. Mahmoud Abbas disbanded the PA parliament in December 2018. He is in his 18th year of a four-year term. And he has turned down several opportunities to set up an independent Palestinian state.
There is a mainstream organisation called MEEDU offering this education and is successful in the UK. But there are those within our community blocking attempts to offer these talks to some Jewish schools and youth groups.
In order to maintain a Jewish community fully supportive of Israel and understand exactly what international law says about Israel, we have to start to promote better education to our youth.
The National Jewish Assembly was created to address this problem and the madrichim who signed this letter simply prove that the matter must be urgently addressed.
James Marlow is CEO of the National Jewish Assembly
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