Meaningful Encounters with Israeli Youths
Attempts to de-legitimize Machsomwatch and other human rights organizations reached their peak with the Breaking the Silence law that was brought to the Israeli Knesset in June 2018. This bill was meant to prevent leftist organizations from entering schools or meeting with students. We continue our work with Israeli youth in spite of this and this year we have held over 20 encounters with youth in high schools and in pre-military academies. The pre-military academies serve high school graduates who choose to put off their enlistment for one year in order to take part in organized studies and social activity. Some encounters were lecture presentations and others were tours in which the young people came to checkpoints and met Palestinians.
There is nothing like seeing with one’s own eyes, but when an actual tour is not possible we meet the young people at their places of study and present our experiences with the aid of maps, photos and reports on our observations. We expose the students to issues concerning democracy, human rights, the laws, edicts and life under occupation. Lively discussions are always part of the presentations and we often receive positive feedback from the students and from the directors of these programs. We are booked for additional meetings for the second half of the current academic year.
In spite of the government’s attempts to silence us and wish to keep Israeli youth from learning about the occupation, we shall to continue to offer these important encounters.