Some 600 students from universities and colleges across Israel will attend US President Barack Obama’s speech at the International Convention Center in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Several institutions of higher education received a limited amount of tickets last week for the event, which they distributed to students as they saw fit.
Among the 170 students from Ramat Gan’s Bar-Ilan University who have been chosen to attend was Joseph Schwartz, a graduate student in political communications.
He told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he appreciates the opportunity: “I’m definitely excited to go,” Schwartz said. “Even though I probably don’t agree with much of what Obama says politically, this is a historic visit in many senses.
Click here for full JPost coverage of Obama's visit to Israel
“I’m going with an open mind,” he added. “I’m going to see what he has to say. It should be very interesting.”
Schwartz, who made aliya from Toronto a few months ago, received the ticket after taking a public diplomacy workshop at Bar-Ilan.
“The workshop is about strengthening the image of Israel abroad and I think it’s cool that this speech is somewhat an extend of that,” he explained.
Elinor Zuckerman, a third-year international relations and communications student at the the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was awarded a seat at the coveted conference after making her school’s Dean’s List.
“I think it’s a great thing to invite students,” she told the Post. “There is something very positive about that, maybe it’s to acknowledge students as the future leaders of Israel, I think it’s beautiful.”
Zuckerman, who will be attending with a few of her classmates, expects the speech to be “something light” about Obama’s experiences.
“I don’t think that this is a platform to talk about the burning issues like Iran’s nuclear weapons or anything like that,” she explained. “I think this is more a talk to young people, which is an optimistic and active type of public.”
Zuckerman said her family and friends have expressed enthusiasm for her attending the speech and asked for pictures and a detailed summary of the event when she returns.
At the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, one of the few colleges to have received tickets, Obama’s speech conflicts with another awaited and exclusive occurrence, the school’s annual trip to Eilat, for which students stand in line for hours each year to register.
“This is much more amazing and worth it than Eilat,” communications student Nimrod Klinger, who won one of the 100 tickets via the school’s lottery, said with conviction.
Klinger said he is “going with an open mind” but hopes that the US president brings up the issue of Iran in his address.
“I just hope it’s not going to be another boring speech, but overall I’m proud to be part of this. It’s something to tell the grandchildren one day,” he said.