Israel's Hidden AccomplishmentsA look at the real Israel, from the way the country is portrayed to its unknown accomplishments.
By: Brandon Less, Sibley Scribe
“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” was a saying stressed to me as a little boy that I try to stay true to everyday. It was a common thought throughout my mind while in Israel over winter break. Since the states’ inception, Israelis and Palestinians have struggled with one another. There have been countless terrorist attacks and a great deal of accusations on both sides. The media’s constant reporting on Israel, makes it come off as warzone to outsiders. What I saw through my own eyes was not war and bloodshed, rather a picturesque, successful, and welcoming country. The media’s portrayal of Israel is one that is far different from what I saw.
Anytime you go somewhere new you are nervous about meeting new people. Now imagine that you are 6,223 miles away from home and you do not know the language. Lucky for me, I have had 15 years of Hebrew school. But the people we stayed with could have been mute and they still would have been the most hospitable people I have ever met. I was invited to stay the night with a friend I made hours before. When I was sick the next morning the mother repeatedly informed me that if I felt sick again to come back and she would take care of me. The people we stayed with went out of their way to make sure we were comfortable. We were invited in with a hot meal and a friendly conversation. Everywhere we went people would tell us about their family, their jobs, their likes and dislikes. They invited us into their lives, and invited us to hear their story.
I would not be surprised if my Israeli friends did not own geography books. All they have to do is look outside. You can close your eyes in a vibrant city and open them to a sun soaked desert. We started our trip in Jerusalem, a city that had the atmosphere close to New York City. I was within walking distance of everything, and there were restaurants and souvenir shops at every corner.
But what astonished me was driving ten minutes north from Jerusalem to be surrounded by grassy fields and mammoth mountains. Or I could go twenty minutes south and be in a desert climbing Mt. Masada overlooking the Dead Sea. Israel is an ever-changing topography lesson.
Every time you finish a video chat with a friend you might want to thank Israel. Or when your big paper gets deleted, you can thank Israel for your backup flash drive. Believe it or not Israel is a hotspot for technology advances. Driving through Israel, I saw long stretches of tech headquarters for industries like Google and Microsoft sitting right smack dab in what used to be a barren desert. Israel is also home to many scientific research labs like the Weitzman Institute. When we were there we learned that scientists from Canada, the US, England, Israel, and from all over the world are working there on projects including one to find alternative fuel sources. People from all over the world, working together to make our world better, in what used to be a barren desert.
The Israel I saw was a vibrant country with warm people, gorgeous landscape, prosperous technological advances, and a bright future. Like any other country it has its conflicts. But where is the media coverage on what is being created in the Weitzman institute or why am I just studying the conflict history of Israel and not learning about Masada and Haifa Sea Ports? What should be said in History class: “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.