In the Fall of 2010, a group of government major embarked on an experience of a lifetime. As part of an SYE course with Dr. Ronnie Olesker, Zlata Unerkova, Igor Dabik, George Cuchural, Matt Iacono and O'Keefe Foster traveled to Israel and the West Bank to learn about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the bottom up. Hassan Raza, who is a Pakistani citizen, was denied an entry visa by Israel and was unable to join the group on the trip despite being part of the SYE course.
While in Israel and Palestine, the students traveled to Jerusalem, where they visited the Wailing Wall as well as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock (one of the most photographed buildings in the world!). They were taken by former IDF soldiers from Breaking the Silence on a tour to the Israeli controlled part of Hebron and soon passed a check point to cross into the Palestinian controlled part of the city. They visited with PA officials in Ramallah and Bethlehem, met with academics in Tel Aviv and Haifa and explored the effects of the separation wall, checkpoints, settlements, the holocaust and other issues on the conflict.
It wasn't all work and no play. While in the region the students had time to explore the nightlife as well, with Ramallah being voted as one of the top places to party. Tel Aviv nightlife was nothing to complain about and the food everywhere was phenomenal. The students will bring back their individual and collective experiences and apply those to their research projects. There is no doubt that this has been a once in a lifetime experience that will serve them from the rest of their lives regardless of where they go and what they do after graduating from SLU.