The Israel Video Network recently ran a contest that was all about this very topic and how Israel can not only be an inspiration to the Jewish people, but to everyone in the world. Anyone was able to submit a video that they had created that had been "Inspired by Israel," with the top two videos winning cash prizes. The winners were determined in two stages, first, by a public vote and then by a group of esteemed judges. We were lucky enough to be in touch with Rachel Lester, a student from Los Angeles, USA and the winner of the contest.We asked Rachel about how she came up with the idea for her video and how it feels to have won."There are so many incredible aspects of Israel and Israeli contributions to the world, but only a few get promoted on a regular basis. When I advocate for Israel, my goal is to get you excited about something you didn’t already know. I’ve heard the fact that that Israel has more startups per capita than anywhere else besides Silicon Valley and that Israel invented cell phone technology and pacemakers and cherry tomatoes so many times — but I know so many amazing things about Israel that aren’t being actively promoted.
When I heard about this video contest and started thinking of lesser-known aspects of Israel that I wanted to get out there, I thought of all my friends who are soldiers in the IDF and all the horrible lies I’ve seen written about the IDF online. I thought that, no matter your political opinion on Israel, you need to know that Israel has the most moral army in the world, and that I could make a video that showed that. I also thought about the week I spent living in and volunteering at Save A Child’s Heart last year and wanted a way to include that too, so the video became about Israel’s incredible humanitarian aid in different forms. This contest gave me the opportunity to spread my love for Israel's humanitarian aid farther than I ever thought possible, so I'm very happy that I got a chance to participate. Winning the grand prize, especially as a non-professional full-time student who made the video completely on my own, was so incredible that I can't even put it into words!"Rachel's great video shows the diversity of Israel and how it's global presence is one that should be celebrated, not condemned. So, when people are quick to criticize Israel, don't hide in the shadows, show them this video and they might change their tune.