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The Student Body President of Florida Atlantic University (FAU), Peter Amirato, joined a group of campus leaders from 15 universities across the country that traveled to Israel on an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) mission that provides college students with an up-close look at the complex issues surrounding the Middle East.

The 15 participants in the annual ADL Campus Leadership Mission to Israel spent eight days in Israel from August 7-14, visiting Christian and Jewish holy sites and meeting with decision-makers, government and military officials, diplomats, Israeli and Palestinian journalists, students, and ordinary Israelis, Arab and Jewish.

“Going on ADL’s Campus Leaders Mission to Israel far exceeded my expectations,” stated Peter Amirato, FAU Student Body President. “I was immediately able to see the vast difference between what you read in the papers and how the situation is on the ground. Now that I am back, I realize that the conflict in the Middle East is far more complex than it is portrayed as, and I am left with even more questions than I went in with.”

The students underwent a vigorous selection process to be admitted into the program. To qualify, they had to demonstrate leadership roles at their colleges through political involvement, student activism, or as editors at a campus newspaper. Students must also have an excellent academic record, an inquisitive mind, and be interested in learning about Israel and the issues it faces in the Middle East.

“Peter is an exceptional campus leader who went through eye-opening experiences in Israel, as he met firsthand with Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life in Israel,” stated Hava Holzhauer, ADL Florida Regional Director. “We look forward to Peter sharing his personal impressions of his time in Israel with his campus community and beyond.”

This year’s group represent the following universities: Boston University, Bucknell University, Clark University, Earlham College, Florida Atlantic University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Rutgers University, University of California-Los Angeles, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Pennsylvania, University of Redlands, University of Texas at Austin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The students met with Arab and Jewish leaders from an array of communities, cultures, and backgrounds, with whom they discussed the cultural landscape of Israel and its complicated history. They learned about how these factors are entwined with critical political decisions, while being exposed to a variety of perspectives and opinions. Some of the prominent individuals featured on the itinerary include premiere Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi, US Consul General Michael Ratney, and News24i CEO Frank Malol.

The group traveled across Israel with stops in Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, the Lebanese border, Golan Heights, and Tel Aviv. They toured Yad Vashem, the old city of Jerusalem, Masada, the West Bank security fence, Old Jaffa, and the Christian holy sites Capernaum and Mount of Beatitudes.

 

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