Israel Experience Scholars returning from meetings in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: ISRAEL EXPERIENCE)
The thirteenth annual Israel Experience College Program brought Christian college students from 11 universities and 7 states to Israel on a three-week intensive study program.
The Israel Experience, known as the "Christian Birthright", is sponsored by Eagles Wings, led by Rev. Robert Stearns. The program invites the best and brightest non-Jewish college students to stand up on university campuses as defenders of the Jewish State against the rising tide of anti-Semitism and the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.
The program trains students from over 113 universities, some of whom have gone on to serve in positions of influence in government, media, and education, including working in the White House and various state governments.
Rev. Robert Stearns, leader of Eagles’ Wings and the Israel Christian Nexus, who established the program said, “The college campus is a hotbed of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric, and through the Israel Experience we have the power to change that conversation, as students are able to address the issue from a first-hand perspective.”
During this trip the students traveled throughout Israel and met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of Knesset and students and professors in two Israeli universities.
In describing those meetings, 2016 Israel Experience Scholar Meaghan Mahoney said, “Being an international relations major, I have been impacted by meeting with academic and government leaders and better understood the unique position Israel is in.”
Third year Master of Divinity student and 2016 Israel Experience Scholar Joshua Nangle said, “This trip has been eye-opening to see first-hand the challenges Israel is facing. We are going to take back what we learned here to our local congregations, to educate them on how they can be an active support to Israel.”
Many of the students found their worldview impacted by what they saw and experienced.
“This trip broadened my perspective and theology. I came on this trip questioning how modern-day Israel had any relevance to the Israel of the Bible or my faith today," said 2016 Israel Experience Scholar and pastoral ministries student Micah Brugere. "Being here in Israel, it is clear to me that God still does have a plan for Israel and the covenant of God with Israel has not changed.”
Part of the program involves students designing a follow-up project to share what they have learned on the Israel Experience with their campus, church and community.
Sandra Demetrius, 2016 Israel Experience Scholar, said, “As a communications major I want to focus on the untold story that you don’t hear on the news. On this trip we have witnessed the resilience and strength of the people of Israel, and coming out of this program I want to find ways to share that untold story with my community.”
"I am truly happy to see the best and brightest future leaders of the United States come to Israel to see in their own eyes our nation," said MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu). "As a former student leader, I encourage you to continue your education and go on and serve your country and your society in civil service. I hope to meet these young and bright people as senators, governors and civil servants in the future."
Josh Reinstein, Director of the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus added, "We must invest in the next generation if we are to win the battle for public opinion. The Israel Experience College Scholarship Program is at the forefront of that fight."sign up to our newsletter
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