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Educational Program Teaches High School Students About Israeli Democracy

Contact: Sarit Schonbrun • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 222 •

February 2, 2006—West Orange, NJ-- On March 28, 2006, Israelis will cast their votes for a new government.  On February 7, the senior class of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex & Union will also make their voices heard by voting in a mock election facilitated by Upstart Activist's program. 

The election is part of the school's 2nd annual Caravan for Democracy High School Edition (HSE) event, coordinated by Jewish National Fund, American Friends of Likud, and Media Watch International.   Sixty students, most of whom will be studying in Israel in the coming weeks, will participate.

During the first part of the day, students will be trained to effectively advocate for Israel and respond to the anti-Israel sentiments they may encounter when they go off to college.  Through lectures, break-out sessions, and interactive exercises, the program will teach students about the current situation in the Middle East and guide them to stand up for Israel in concrete and meaningful ways.  In the afternoon, students will learn about Israel’s democratic system, key political issues, and various political parties through

“IsraelVotes is a timely and engaging education experience for students and helps participants understand the Israeli parliamentary system and various party platforms in advance of the Israel national elections set for March 28,” said Michael Eglash, co-founder of Upstart Activist-- a Jerusalem-based education and advocacy organization--  who will be present at the Caravan for Democracy HSE event.      

Once they are well-versed in Israel’s upcoming elections, students will be divided into groups and asked to represent one of Israel’s political parties.  They will then have to develop a short speech, a creative skit or commercial, and two slogans to generate support for their parties and respond to outside criticism.  They will also field questions from their peers.  At the end of the program, students will vote in the mock Israeli elections. 

Caption: Marissa Sauer and Adam Buchoff, students at the Solomon Schecter Day School, deliver presentations at last year's Caravan for Democracy HSE event.   

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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