My favorite part about touring Tel Aviv was visiting the Israeli Bank and Finance Museum and listening to Joey Bendah's presentation on the geo-political politics of the Middle East. I enjoyed his talk because he recognized his bias towards the Israeli people in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and still presented us with information that wasn't skewed to favor one side or the other. Before coming to Israel, I thought I understood the tension between Israel and the surrounding Arab nations, but Joey's talk made me realize how little I know, and how complicated the issue is. I loved how passionate he and all of the Israeli people are about their nation, and how proud they are to be Jewish. I never really identified with the Israeli identity before Birthright, but now I understand how important Israel is as a nation for the Jewish people, and it made me appreciate this trip so much more. Overall, I really loved being able to hear about Israeli politics from someone who's lived here and experienced them, as opposed to third party sources that don't always capture the situation in the most correct light. I've loved this opportunity and can't wait to return to Israel in the future.
By: Noah Solomon