New Initiative Challenges Anti-Israel BDS on American Campuses

Wounded IDF soldiers share their stories with students at American schools and universities


New Initiative Challenges Anti-Israel BDS on American Campuses

Bentzi Sasson

Matan Roettger and Or Porat share their story at "Shabbat 500" in California

by Ashira Weiss

April 24, 2018

As celebrities and the media continue to malign the IDF’s activities in defense of Israel’s borders and its citizens, the PR battle on Israel’s behalf is intensifying. This is especially pronounced on the American university campus, the incubator of the anti-Israel BDS movement.

Chabad on Campus and Belev Echad, an organization established to advocate for wounded IDF soldiers and assist them in their recovery and reintegration into civilian life, have formed a partnership. Together they are bringing IDF veterans to visit campuses across the country and share their stories with faculty and students.

Shay Zach, himself an IDF veteran who now serves on the Belev Echad Board shares, “the goal of this tour is to combat the BDS message, by inviting students to engage with real soldiers and to hear their experiences firsthand.”

In this first tour, Matan Roettger and Or Porat, both IDF veterans, wounded in the line of duty, are visiting seven campuses across Arizona and California during the next six weeks. Through, talks, presentations, shared Shabbat Services and luncheons, students have a chance to interact with them on a personal level.

“I have never felt so proud to be Jewish and thankful for those who defend our country,” said Sarah Winkleman, a PoliSci and Global Studies major after attending Matan and Or’s audio visual presentation hosted by Chabad at Arizona State University. She declared it “the most significant event I’ve been a part of, at ASU.”

“By connecting the Jewish student communities wherever we go from with the Land of Israel, we will bring a confidence for the students to be proud to advocate on Israel’s behalf,” says Or.

Chabad on Campus and Belev Echad are working with Chabad Campus chapters to expand this tour during the upcoming academic year.

For more about Chabad on Campus or Belev Echad: http://www.chabad.edu/, https://belevechad.nyc/

Discussing their story of terror and bravery with students at Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ).

Matan and Or spend Shabbat with Rabbis Dovie Shapiro and Shmulik Moscowitz at Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff).

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