Saturday, June 18, 2011
Israeli, Syrian high school students meet in Qatar
Exceptional impression. Israeli delegates to Qatar
UN-like Qatar convention for high school students brings Israeli teen together with peers from nine countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel; contacts eventually made with Syrian, Lebanese delegates as well, new friendships formed in convention's halls
A delegation of Israeli high school students attended an international convention in Qatar, simulating the United Nations. The meet, which ended Monday, was held in Qatar's capital, Doha.
The 30 Israeli students, along with their peers from other countries, got a taste of real-life international politics, as the UN-Model had them "represent" different countries around the worlds in various political and diplomatic situations.
The Israeli delegation – along with the Qatar one – was the largest delegation sent to the convention, representing four Israeli high schools, as opposed to one or two by the other delegations.
The diplomatic simulation also included delegations from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, El-Salvador, Greece, Hungary, India, Thailand and Turkey.
The Israeli students found themselves debating with representatives from nine countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel; two of the countries – Syria and Lebanon – prohibit any contact with Israelis by law.
The Israeli delegation reportedly made an exceptional impression, showing great proficiency in debates mimicking Arab League meets and US Security Council sessions, as well as excelling at describing the Israeli-Palestinian reality and issues involving the Iranian nuclear program, winning eight awards by the time the convention came to its end.
Undoubtedly, a large part of the convention took part on the sidelines of the official debates: The Israeli students soon befriended their Jordanian, Palestinian, Gulf and Lebanese peers, and eventually even the Syrian ones, as the heated debates soon turned from politics to soccer and electronic gadgets.
The UN-model ended with a gala dinner, attended by all delegations, Arab and foreign ambassadors and the Israeli commerce attaché to Doha, Roi Rosenblit.
"With everything happening between the Israelis and the Palestinians, what happened here is very important… Arab teens found out first hand that the Israelis are not monsters, but people, just like them," Rosenblit told Ynet.