"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."Its why Birthright scares the haters. 10 days in Israel exposes their lies, their bias and their agenda. Israeli sunshine is, and always will be the best disinfectant to BDS hate.
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
And its for this reason, we all owe StandWithUs thanks for having the insight and the compassion to send First Nations advocate Ryan Bellerose to Israel. Ryan was an intellectual Zionist- his attachment to Israel was the result of careful study. But now his attachment is stronger and deeper.
It can hardly be said that Ryan didn't know Israel when he got here. Or at least, through his copious reading of a wide range of historical and religious sources, he thought he knew Israel. He's written a thesis on the Merkeva tank, but he'd never before met someone who fought in one. He's read the gospels but he'd never walked along the Via de la Rose. He's read of the decadence of Rome but he'd never stood in the amphitheatre of Caesarea. He's read about Jews being blocked from their Temple Mount but he'd never reached the front of the line and been refused entry himself. He's read about the Syrians shelling civilians but he'd never stood on a hill a mile away and watched shells fly.
Read Ryan’s impressions of Israel, published at Israellycool. And if you can, send StandWithUs a donation, so they can continue to sponsor trips to Israel that open hearts and minds and broaden horizons for so many people
He did all of those things and many more.