In the year of the coronavirus pandemic, when Israelis have not been able to travel, English teachers who came to Israel have become the new Israeli goodwill ambassadors.
Twenty-six teachers who volunteered to come to Israel and teach English attended a special workshop of the Israel-is organization, held this week at the social hub at Tel Aviv's Atarim Square, with the goal of teaching them how to defend Israel abroad as unofficial ambassadors.
Israel-is operates in the beachfront structure that formerly housed the Pussycat strip club. The organization has trained several goodwill ambassadors in the past, mainly young people going on their post-army trip across the world.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed all this, however, forcing the NGO to recruit other people to serve as Israel's ambassadors, putting these new 'recruits' in a workshop suited to them. Being English-language educators, many of them came to Israel as part of the Masa Israel Teachers Fellows program, a program from the 'Israeli Experience' company in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.
“This is not my first time in Israel, but it is absolutely my most meaningful one,” said Zoe Zeidler, 24, who teaches at the Renanim School in Rishon Lezion. “This workshop prepared me for my return to the United States. I know that now I cannot just speak about the Israeli population but also about Israel as a country.”
“The dozens of English teachers who come to Israel through the Masa project every year forge a direct connection with Israeli society, and many of them also immigrate to Israel down the road," CEO of The Israeli Experience Amos Hermon said. "The workshop, specially adapted for them, will enable those who return to their home countries to tell the Israeli story and pass on the Israeli experience to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora.”