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Friday, December 12, 2014

Students Lobby for Israel in Washington DC

Yeshivah of Flatbush Students at AIPAC in Washington D.C.
It occurred to me, right before boarding the coach bus heading to Washington D.C., how little I knew about Israel and United States relations and our foreign affairs. I knew I was chosen to spend the next few hours in our nation’s Capital as a High School student representing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), one of the largest organizations which lobby for Israel. I also knew I would be lobbying Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. But, why was I chosen?

When the committee decided that I can go a few weeks ago, I spent the next couple of weeks preparing everything, from reading different newspapers for up-to-date news from Israel and researching background information about the U.S.-Israel relationship. Finally, December 2nd came, the morning I was leaving for Washington D.C. After a five hour bus ride, I finally arrived in Washington D.C., ready and nervous for the next few hours.
On that day all 46 other students from Yeshivah of Flatbush who attended this trip walked to AIPAC headquarters, where they explained, in detail, about their organization and how they help the Israel-U.S. Relationship. AIPAC is pro-Israel lobbying group that helps to strengthen, protect, and promote the US-Israel relationship. Never in a million years did I think I would get the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing group and gain such an incredible eye opening experience. We then went the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This was a great way to alter our mood into a more serious one before we went to lobby. We then went to our last stop, Capitol Hill, as a united group. We broke up into smaller groups and met with a staffer from our districts congressional offices.
Nathan Marcus (on far right) with Representative Clarke
Just sitting in that office, being in one of the most important buildings in the world, and using all of the knowledge I had learned to lobby, was such an amazing feeling. After the hour long meeting discussing our hopes for continued US-Israeli partnership with Representative Clarke, I felt so accomplished and proud of what I had learned in such a short time.

I never would have guessed that I would go to Washington D.C. and lobby a congresswoman. I think it is one of the most amazing and awarding experiences someone can do. I left D.C. later that day feeling like I had done something important in my life–like I had made difference in the “real world.” I hope that later in life, whether I am lobbying or doing something else with purpose, I can feel just as inspired as I felt when I left Washington that day. Thank you to the Israel Activism and Mr. Rothbort for making this amazing opportunity possible.
~Nathan Marcus