by Akiva Cooper (’18)

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Students participating in Hatzioni’s mission to Washington D.C., better known as MTAPAC, started their day early last Thursday with a 6:25 minyan. As the bus departed from MTA at 7:15, students started to review what they had prepared for the day ahead of them. About two and a half hours into the ride, the MTA bus stopped at the Delaware rest stop, allowing the students to get off, stretch, and buy some Carvel and Starbucks. Aside from the refreshments, the rest stop provided a time for the MTAPACers to meet and discuss what they were planning on bringing up in the meetings they had scheduled with congressmen. Each student was put into a group of about 10 students and one faculty member. The remaining 2 and a half hours of the ride were largely spent with everyone in their respective groups, reviewing what each person would say at their meetings.

After the long and political ride, the students stepped off the bus in front of the Capitol building. They went to a nearby federal office building to meet with a representative from The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and to listen to a lecture of the history of the AJC and what the committee could do about Jews and current events.

The next three hours were spent lobbying congressmen about the relationships between Israel and America, specifically regarding BDS. The scheduled appointments with the congressmen did not take up all three hours, allowing the students, along with their faculty advisers, to walk around Washington D.C. and visit some Smithsonian museums.

The day culminated after all the student groups convened in front of the Capitol to board their bus and to head to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, considered part of the White House. The students were privileged to hear lectures from President Trump’s special representative for international negotiations, Jason Dov Greenblatt (’85), Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s Deputy Assistant, and other important people in Trump’s Administration. As the students boarded the bus for the trek back north, they reflected on the amazing privileges they received, and the amazing opportunity they had to lobby for Israel.

Thank you to Rabbi Cohn and everyone else who helped make this mission a success.

 

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