Members of Northwestern’s Jewish community gather in support of Israel


Sean Su/Daily Senior Staffer

Attendees pose for pictures with a sign explaining their support for Israel at a solidarity picnic. The event was hosted by Fiedler Hillel and the Israel on Campus Coalition to unite the Jewish community on campus, organizers said.

Alice Yin, Assistant Campus Editor

Students and faculty members from Northwestern’s Jewish organizations spoke publicly in support of Israel on Monday afternoon at a social event hosted by Fiedler Hillel and the Israel on Campus Coalition.

The Israel Solidarity Picnic, held outside Foster-Walker Complex, drew about 40 people who listened to speakers discuss participating in the pro-Israel movement on campus.

Weinberg junior Jonathan Kamel, president of Wildcats for Israel, said he came up with the event to unite people in the NU Jewish community.

“It was a tough summer for … Israel,” Kamel told The Daily. “Our angle is very open and inclusive. We don’t have a political agenda, it’s to have people come together for the support of Israel.”

Along with Kamel, speakers included leaders from NU College Republicans and J Street U Northwestern. They spoke on dedication to Israel and celebrating Judaism’s roots in the nation.

“(Hillel’s) mission is to try to inspire every Jewish student at Northwestern to make a meaningful and enduring commitment to Jewish life,” Hillel’s executive director Michael Simon told The Daily. “There were a lot of students who had all kinds of responses and reactions to the conflict this past summer. This is one connecting thread for those students who care about Israel.”

Simon also promoted an upcoming Hillel Israel seminar that he is leading with Rabbi Aaron Potek. In its second year, the seminar aims to provide a “safe space to ask questions and challenge assumptions about Israel.”

“When you hear ‘Israel’ in the news, it becomes very much about the political conflict,” Simon said. “What we’re trying to do is provide students who are interested in looking at the history of Israel with why it’s important for a Jewish national homeland.”

Josh Cohen, attended the picnic to celebrate his connection to Israel.

“Support for Israel is necessary for the Jewish community,” the Weinberg junior said. “There’s only one Jewish state, and they need our support.”

At the picnic, students posed for pictures holding signs that explained their reasons for supporting Israel.

“There are a lot of events related to Israel, but this is the first of its kind that’s right at the beginning of the year in solidarity of Israel,” Kamel said.

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