The following program is designed for use by Israel Outdoors Birthright groups. The program was written by Neil Lazarus, Director of Awesomeseminars.com. The activity below is to be run the Tour Guide.
Timing of the Seminar
This program should take place after the geo political lecture given to the group by an external presenter.
The purpose is to raise further dilemmas and complexities regarding the conflict and the choices Israel faces and further discussion time.
It may be necessary to have more than one room for this program or a large open space outside.
Instructions for the Guide
Read through carefully all the information provided.
Decide on the level of your group. Birthright has groups at different levels of academic ability and maturity.
The guide can adapt the level of this seminar and make it suitable to the participant's knowledge and maturity.
Preparation for the Program
- After the geo political seminar, the guide should:
- Announce that the next day they will have further opportunity to discuss some of the issues raised by the lecture.
- S(he) should explain to the group that there will be a discussion and a debate on three major issues.
- Gaza and the search for tunnels: The claim by Palestinians that Israel committed war crimes during Operation Defensive Edge. The rejection of this claim by Israel and the counter claim that Hamas was actually guilty of war crimes against its own people and Israeli civilians.
- West Bank: Whether Israeli settlements within the West Bank are a block to peace with the Palestinians or whether the Palestinians use the issue as an excuse not to sign a peace deal with Israel.
- BDS. Whether boycotts of Israel are the just or harm the Palestinians.
- The North: Given information of missiles being sent to Hezbollah from Iran should Israel strike to prevent them reaching their destination? Would such a strike trigger a regional conflict?
- Refugees. How should Israel deal with refugees from Syria arriving?
- Hatikvah. Should Israel's national anthem be rewritten to reflect the aspirations of all of it's citizens
- The tour guide should split the tour into teams according to which debate is run.The guide can decide to run only two dilemmas if need be. Each team should be divided into two sub groups representing each side of the discussion.
- The tour guide will explain that students should prepare for tomorrow's activity by:
- Reading the background and scenario sheets on their subject.
- Each subgroup should read both the "for" and "against" information sheets. It is important that all students read both sides of the argument.
- Students should then prepare arguments either for or against their given scenario depending on their group. For some teams it may be necessary to assign a madrich or a student that is more knowledgeable to help the discussion.
- Each sub group will have five minutes to present their side of the scenario during the activity the next day. They will also have the opportunity to ask three questions of the other side.
- Each sub group should appoint a number of spokespeople to present their viewpoint in a five minute speech.
The activity will take approximately 2 hours, split as follows:
Preparation 40 minutes
Speeches and discussions: 60 minutes
Summary by guide: 20 minutes
At the beginning of the program the guide should explain that the sub groups have 40 minutes to finish preparing their presentations.
After this preparation time, the guide should call on each team to present their arguments for and against the scenario in a five minute speech in front of the whole tour. This presentation should be uninterrupted by the opposing side or the audience.
The opposing side of that team is then allowed to ask three questions, challenging the speaker.
The guide can then open up the discussion to further questions from the whole tour.
This procedure is then repeated for each team and its scenario.
At the conclusion of the activity the guide should summarize the discussion by reminding the group of the scenario and the arguments that were posed.
How to Conclude the Activity
The tour guide should introduce the concept that opposing narratives are an important element of the conflict, and that beyond proving an argument as right or wrong different sides of the conflict have opposing narratives. Those narratives comprise of daily experience, reinforced stereotypes and mythology. It is important to understand opposing narratives as a step to resolving conflict. Moreover, for every decision made by government there is a price to pay, the question is what is an acceptable price.