My name is Daniel Smith, and I'm an American college student studying History at Wayne State University.
Previously, I've studied economics and ran a presidential campaign for a candidate
who was unabashedly pro-Israel.
As you can see, I blog for The Jerusalem Post (as well as the Times of Israel).
Ever since I began studying Israel, I couldn't stop - the ancient history and modern state, middle eastern location and western feel, strategic value and unfriendly neighborhood - have all convinced me that Israel is the most interesting place in the world.
I've read about it in textbooks, learned about it in lectures, seen pictures, heard stories from people who've lived there, listened to members of the Knesset, read the countless articles here on Jpost.com, watched youtube videos etc. etc. etc.
But what good is that?
I want the primary source: To float in the dead sea, visit every quarter of the Old City, watch boats go by in Eilat, drink a beer on the beaches of Tel-Aviv, experience a settlement, trek across the Negev, sunbathe by the Sea of Galilee, ride a bike around Haifa and speak first hand with diverse array of people who make up the nation of Israel.
I can't formulate an opinion about Israel until I have seen it with my own two-eyes; I can't rely on other peoples biased or perhaps unbiased accounts.
I've tried everything I can - converting to Judaism (full disclosure: I'm Catholic), going on birthright, contacted over a dozen organizations that set-up trips, even asked ambassador Aaron David Miller if he knew of anything......but no cigar.
On top of that, I'm also dead broke: I'm a full-time student, and don't have the time to come up with the money at this point in life. It could be years before I have the means, and by that point who knows where I'll be tied down.
So if you're reading this (which you are), an American college student who aspires to work in academia and diplomacy is sick of having to rely on secondary sources to form a perception of Israel. He wants to touch the dirt with his own hands and breathe the air with his own lungs.
Can anyone help me out?
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