Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Author of ‘Israelis’ Dispels Misperceptions

Writer Donna Rosenthal encouraged Georgetown students to look past the Arab-Israeli conflict and focus more on Israel’s rich culture and diversity in a speech Wednesday night in the Walsh building.

Promoting her new book, The Israelis, Rosenthal told the student audience that the image of Israelis portrayed by the media is largely inaccurate.

“I wrote this book to smash stereotypes,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal’s speech was highly critical of the media, which Rosenthal, herself a journalist, blamed for Israeli’s reputation as a homogeneous and dangerous land.

“If you watch CNN, it seems like everything is blowing up,” she said.

The overemphasis on violence prompted Rosenthal to write her book to show that Israel was more than just the brutal images broadcast on television, she said. Her book highlights Israel’s diverse population and culture by focusing on its youth and their personal experiences.

Rosenthal said it was important to focus on the youth of Israel because most Israelis are in their 20s and 30s and because “they are the future.”

She added that much of her book was told from the perspective of women, who she felt are too often ignored, despite comprising half the population.

Rosenthal also pointed out many facts about Israel’s demographic makeup.

“American Jews don’t know about Israel and Israelis don’t even know about Israel,” she said.

Rosenthal noted that Israel has the fastest growing Christian population of any Middle Eastern country, and that 90 percent of Israeli Jews are not orthodox and that the Arab name Mohammed is the most common name among Israeli boys.

Rosenthal also stressed cultural diversity, highlighting the influx of immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet bloc as all having an important and lasting impact on the national culture.

According to Rosenthal, many towns in Israel are like “Moscow on the Mediterranean.” She also noted that Israeli radio stations have 12 different language stations.

From her experience, America and Israel both have young people that share many common interests and both are “fervently modern.”

According to Rosenthal, the U.S. and Israel are the two global leaders in technology. She said it was unfortunate, though, that these observations are “lost in the media coverage.”

One major difference between America and Israel highlighted in her speech was the compulsory military service for all young Israelis. She told the audience that while American students worried about what college they were going to attend, Israeli students were worrying about what branch of the military they would serve in.

Also, Rosenthal was quick to point out the diversity in the military. Both men and women are required to serve, and Israeli Christians and Muslims, not just Jews, must serve.

The speech was sponsored by the Georgetown Israel Alliance.

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