Stay Informed on Israel & the Conflict

Israel, like all sovereign nations, has the right and responsibility to defend its people against terrorism and any other security threats. The events during May 2021 prove not only the security challenges that Israel faces, but also the need to work towards an outcome that will ensure an end to the violence, an enduring peace for the region, Israel’s security, and Palestinian self-determination. Below you will find links to news sites and resources that will keep you informed. 

Suggestion for Talking about Israel

Against the backdrop of a complex geopolitical conflict taking place on the other side of the globe, Americans in general and American Jews, in particular, are navigating the sea of ideas and information, of opinion and expression. Social media is a powerful tool for sharing information and opinions but is terrible for discussing this and other sensitive topics in a respectful, nuanced manner. While social media can be awash in misinformation and outright antisemitism, our own face-to-face interactions can also feel fraught.

Suggestions for how to think and talk about Israel and the Middle East:

Before you engage in an Israel conversation, think about who you are going to converse with and what you hope will result.

  • Is it a friend looking to understand your perspective?
  • Is it someone with lots or little knowledge about Israel?
  • Is it someone whose opinion you don’t know or whose views are very different than your own?

Each of these scenarios might require a different approach and a different goal. But in each case, the best conversations are rooted in:

  • Curiosity – a willingness to listen and learn from the other.
  • Honesty – speaking your truth and pursuing facts.
  • Humility – accept that both of you know only a portion of the full story.
Think about these guidelines during your conversation, which can help the encounter be constructive and lead to greater understanding:
  1. The focus must be to hear and be heard, to ask and answer questions, to learn something of each other’s values, and, if possible, to find a point of values agreement.
  2. Center your identity and your values in the conversation. If Israel matters a great deal to you, it will matter at least a little bit to people who care about you. When Israel is front-page news and people you know ask you about it, it’s because they want to know what their friend thinks.
  3. Listen fully to what is being said. Ask questions. Resist the urge to interrupt. Once the other person has had their say, it’s your turn. You might consider posing this question: Would you like to know how this situation looks to me? Now the obligation to listen has been placed before the other person.
  4. No one expects you to have all the answers. If you can balance passion and compassion, the factual and the personal, and do it all with calmness, intelligence and respect, the conversation will not be easily dismissed.
  5. Maintain perspective. We are 7,000 miles away. The conflict predates all of us and is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Nothing we say, do, or post is going to change that.
  6. You may find a point of agreement; you may agree on nothing. If you leave the conversation with clarity on where you agree and where you differ, if each person walks away with something to think about, and if there is a possibility of another conversation another day…this is a good result.

Additional suggestions specifically for teens:

  • Check-in with parents and/or other trusted adults because they can provide perspective, a sounding board, and a source of guidance.
  • Take information breaks (Shabbat) or other intentional breaks. 
  • Remember, Israel is much more than a story of conflict, even when conflict is what dominates the news cycle. Nourish your love of Israel with Israeli music, food, streaming Israeli TV shows, and, if possible, connection with actual Israelis. Read about the interesting things happening in an area that interests you. Engage with Israel’s multi-faceted dimensions every way you can.
Sources of reliable information on Israel:

    Articles written by thought leaders:

    1. How to Talk About Israel, by Rabbi Alexander Davis
    2. Black Lives Matter, Israel, and Us, by Rabbi Aaron Weininger
    3. The Fighting Between Arabs and Jews Reminds Us We’re Still a Minority in the Region, by Dr. Einat Wilf
    4. Jerusalem of Glue, by Matti Friedman
    5. The Bad Optics of Fighting for Your Life, by Bari Weiss
    6. How to halt the criminalization of Israel, by Yossi Klein Halevi
    7. How an American Left Lens Can Get Israel Wrong, by Jeremy Burton
    8. Arabs: Hamas Does Not Care About Palestinian Suffering, by Khaled Abu Toameh
    9. Hamas’s forever war against Israel has a glitch, and it isn’t Iron Dome by Haviv Rettig Gur

    This section was provided by JCRC Minnesota and the Dakotas 

    Daily Jewish News

    Haaretz

    The Jerusalem Post

    Forward

    Israel Hayom

    Times of Israel

    Y-Net

    Advocacy & Policy Organizations

    ADL (Anti-Defamation League) 

    Crisis in Israel

    AJC (American Jewish Committee)

    Israel Democracy Institute, Israel

    Israel Policy Forum, U.S.

    Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Israel

    Jewish Federations of North America

    Israel Crisis Resources

    Washington Institute for Near East Policy, U.S.

    Educational Resources

    AJC: Translate Hate Glossary

    JCRC How to Talk About Israel for Teens

    Center for Israel Education 

    Institute for Curriculum Services: The Arab-Israeli Conflict

    Shalom Hartman Institute: Jewish & Democratic Israel

    Unpacked for Educators 

    Tools to Engage

    ADL: Parent Family and Caregiver Resources 

    ADL: Navigating a Digital World – Tips for Youth 

    Hey Alma: Israel Guide

    Israel-Palestine: Avoiding antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech

    Voice of Salam

    Hillel International: What is Happening in Israel?

    Webinar Panel featuring Miri Eisin, Ambassador Dennis Ross, and Khaled Abu Toameh 

    Tribe Talk

    Helps high school students have the knowledge to navigate the challenges they may encounter related to college antisemitism and anti-Zionism and to understand the myriad organizations that exist on campus. 

    TRUStory 

    Seeing lies, half truths, and hate against Jews or Israelis on social media? Find the content you need to push back with confidence. 

    Unpacked: How to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with your friends  

    TikTok videos spread lies about Israel

    The Jerusalem Post

    The New York Times

    Podcasts

    Daily Briefing (Times of Israel) 

    Makom’s List of “Essential Podcasts on Israel for 2021”

    Israel Policy Pod (Israel Policy Forum) 

    People of the Pod (American Jewish Committee) 

    Extremely (Anti-Defamation Leauge) 

    For Heaven’s Sake (Shalom Hartman Institute) 

    The Branch (Hadassah)