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Four hundred CUFI on Campus student activists joined thousands of people from across America at A Night to Honor Israel in Washington, DC, last week. The atmosphere was filled with so much excitement that at one point, Christians and Jews rose from their tables to dance the Hora in the center of the room.
Many of the event’s speakers, including the founder of Christians United for Israel, Pastor John Hagee, spoke about the importance of CUFI on Campus activists and their role on campus.
David Brog, CUFI’s executive director, shared with the audience recent data that found 71% of all Americans say that they are pro-Israel, but noted that the figure drops to just 32% among college students. This statistic was repeated throughout the night to draw attention to the need for action on college campuses.
CUFI on Campus activist Sam Bain spoke about the anti-Israel sentiment on college campuses and the need to provide students with the tools to feel empowered and to stand up for what they believe in. His speech drew students to their feet and culminated with loud cheers. One of the student spectators, San Jose State University senior Eliot Fine, said: “I felt a sense of pride while listening to Sam Bain speak with both fire and charisma about the powerful bond that exists between Israel and the United States.”
Students in the audience noted that CUFI on Campus can help other campus pro-Israel clubs and organizations extend their influence. University of Texas junior Caroline Mendelsohn said that her love of Israel and Zionism came from growing up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish home but that CUFI can reach beyond the Jewish community to a broader range of potential Israel supporters.
“It was truly incredible to see nearly 5,000 Christians in one room celebrating the US-Israel relationship,” said Jeremy Sherman, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. “It gave me a sense of reassurance that the US-Israel alliance will remain strong for years to come.”
Mid-way through the evening, a short video was presented that showcased the battle over Israel on America’s college campuses. The footage documented Israel Apartheid Week and extreme anti-Israel bias in the classroom. At the conclusion of the film, the atmosphere in the room shifted. It became clear that this night was not just about honoring Israel, but perhaps more importantly about equipping college students with the tools and knowledge to stand up and speak out against hate on their college campuses.
As the students who attended the Night to Honor Israel head back to their campuses for the fall semester, their new knowledge will help them handle Israel detractors and reach out to their peers with a different perspective.Kayla Sokoloff, Israel Campus Beat
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