There are 6 sets of parents in America right now who might be wishing that their kids weren't college newspaper editors. I'd met the group of 6 young editors in Tel Aviv earlier this week, in Israel on a one-week tour -- a special seminar hosted by the Washington-based Project Interchange. The idea behind the organization, which has been around for 25 years, is to give American opinion-shapers, and international leaders of all stripes, an unedited taste of Israel and its multi-faceted and complex issues.
As part of their trip the young editors from six different American university campuses met with -- or are planning to meet --other college reporters from Tel Aviv University, as well as officials from the Israel Defense Forces, and representatives and analysts from both the Palestinian and Russian media.
To allay their parents' fears, and to share a part of their journey, I'd invited the delegates to post some of their impressions about Israel here on the Huffington Post.
First up is Vadim Lavrusik, the Editor in Chief of The Minnesota Daily at the University of Minnesota. Here are his thoughts (recorded Wednesday night):
Despite Israel's air attacks on the Hamas in Gaza, the fighting seems distant in Israel's cultural center, Tel Aviv. However, the actual distance of the fighting isn't far for a country that is geographically small. Yet the city's cafes went on bustling with patrons late Wednesday and the youth filled the streets to enjoy the vibrant night life.
Part of it has to do with an underlying idea of a state that is constantly seeking normality in the midst of abnormality, Yossi Shain, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University and a professor at Georgetown University, says.
Shain, an expert in Israeli politics, didn't downplay the current fighting. "People are in shelters [in Gaza]. People are in full alert. It's a very difficult time right now," Shain said.
But the fact that a city like Tel Aviv remains mostly unaffected could be because of the Israeli people's condition of living among such conflicts and yet being completely satisfied with their life in Israel. If one asked them about the state of Israel's condition, they would tell you a whole different story, Shain says.
That isn't to say that the citizens of Tel Aviv are ignoring or uninformed of what is going on. They, in fact, have been following it quite closely.
But some students from Tel Aviv University also seem to be somewhat unaffected by the conflict, aside from some reserves being called into active duty, Roy Mendelovitzs, a film student, said. Mendelovitzs himself served in the Israeli army and has been doing some training, but said that for most people life goes on as usual. It seems to be that way for a country that is accustomed to this type of conflict along its borders.
Other students have been very passionate about the current situation. A group of student journalists at Tel Aviv told me that they support their government and the air attacks in Gaza. Some even organized demonstrations to show their support.
As far as a solution to the current conflict, Shain didn't know the answer, but knew the problems. "Right now it's chaotic without a power or central authority." Many developments are sure to take place in the coming days, but a resolution seems as distant as the fighting from Tel Aviv.
Vadim Lavrusik has written for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal and is currently a contracted writer for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Mr. Lavrusik is a journalism senior at the University of Minnesota. He welcomes comments at email@example.com
His latest post, Soldiers at a West Bank Security Fence, can be read here.
Additional editors who plan to post their impression on what it's like in Israel during the renewed conflict with Gaza, include: Andrew Dubbins, Assistant Editor, The Hoya Newspaper, Georgetown University; Meg Grady, Editor-in-Chief, Case Western University; Nicole Marie Jones, Managing Editor, The DePaulia, DePaul University; Amanda King, Copy Editor, The Journal, Webster University; and Emory Williamson, Editor-in-Chief, The Louisville Cardinal, Inc., University of Louisville.
Karin Kloosterman is the founder and editor of Green Prophet www.greenprophet.com, the leading environment news site in the Middle East. For tips and inquiries email
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