By Rotem Bar
This March, I was one of 18,000 participants at the 2020 AIPAC Policy Conference. This was my first time attending or having any involvement with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and I have been wanting to go for years! I am so grateful to the Jewish Federation for giving me the opportunity to go. It was a powerful feeling to be part of the thousands of people that were there, all from different backgrounds and points of views.
If I had to describe my experience there in one word, I would choose “WOW!” Wow, because this conference was so much bigger and more powerful than I could have ever imagined and half of the time I was walking around with my jaw dropped. As a (proud!) Israeli, I am humbled and grateful to know that there are tens of thousands of people from all over the country who gather each year with the purpose of supporting Israel, my home.
Seeing so many people who stand united for Israel and who deeply care about the U.S.-Israel relationship was truly amazing! I must admit, at times I felt that it was almost like a “love fest” for Israel, and that made me move a little in my chair when certain speakers spoke, but 99% of the time I felt proud—proud of my country and proud of all the people who take action in the pro-Israel movement, people who work together to make this world better! It made me feel that this is a love affair that is deserved and needs to be expressed and celebrated.
Being around people who are doers, who take action and are involved in politics, in pro-Israel initiatives and innovation gave me a wave of inspiration while meeting, seeing and hearing about individuals who continue to act and have fire in their eyes to create positive change in this world. I learned my fair share of American politics (it’s about time!), and I have met many inspiring people, old and new!
The hashtag for the 2020 AIPAC conference was #aipacproud. I left the conference truly feeling “AIPAC proud” to be one of those people who take action in creating a strong and deep connection to Israel and the Jewish people. Thanks to AIPAC and all the people that were there I feel like the future is bright, that America has our back and that we are all family.