Last week SNS made the short trip up north to Manchester, where a myriad of eager students awaited, eager to engage with our SNS team.
We reached a whopping 1000 participants including 350 at Limmud, 136 students at Lancaster Grammar School, and over 150 students both at Witton Park College and Hazel Grove School respectively, the most of any tour that SNS has undertaken to date.
Dima and Michal had a fantastic time, enjoying the tough, but eventful schedule. Having initially met in London thanks to the work of SNS, this in fact represented the first time they had met someone from the other side of the green line. Needless to say, both seemed like age old friends, relishing the opportunity to chat and get to know each other better.
Discussions were at times challenging, with many questions arising inevitably about extremism, corruption, reconciliatory challenges of the past and present, and the use of the words settlements, occupation and terrorism. Yet, Dima and Michal were both a beacon of change and realism, striding forward with a pro-solution stature, and manifesting themselves majestically as members of the moderate majority in Israel and Palestine.
Indeed for Dima, who had never done any public speaking before, talking in front of more than 100 students was certainly a challenge, but one she overcame with flying colours. And when some participants were debating the definition of a Palestinian, she simply said ‘Palestinians are human like everybody else’, which received a rambunctious round of applause.
Michal carried herself with perfect poise, standing up for her beliefs and emphasised the need for true partners who want peace. When questions of ostentatious aggression were raining down, Michal put on her raincoat and stayed calm, responding in kind as one of the new forward and solution-focused youth in Israel.
One of the week’s highlights was the BBC Radio Lancashire interview, where SNS’s Jess addressed questions about the tour, highlighting the importance placed by SNS on mobilising the grassroots in Israel and Palestine and giving a platform for the moderate majority to propagate their positive views.
The tour was fantastic and Manchester welcomed us with open arms. A mention must also go to our intern Jonny who provided silky-smooth support and imparted local wisdom upon the group throughout the week.
Due to the success of this tour, we’re definitely going to go back next year, so keep your eyes open Manchester; SNS will be coming to a school or event near you soon!