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Israel at 70 is still a young 21 year old. Israel as a country is 70 years, its history is almost 6,000 years old, and its democratic system turned 21 years old. Two days ago Israel held the 21st Knesset elections. Man was I happy to be in Israel for these elections. Of course as a GW student I take all elections very seriously. So these past couple of weeks I really dove into studying, reading, watching and of course going to debates and discussions about this year’s elections in Israel. Granted I did put in more effort than many people I knew because I thought was going to vote, but I don’t have residency just citizenship. The great Israel fellow of GW gave me great words of advice in saying with voting in Israel every vote counts 10 fold and because of this it’s a lot more responsibility. Well, results came in and Bibi will still be Prime Minister after the coalition part of elections are done. That is basically the quickest way to summarize all of this. I could also tell you the party I wanted  most in the Knesset had a Red Line in order to join a coalition - that is for legalization of marijuana. Anyways it is always an amazing experience to participate in democracy and although I didn’t vote I still gave my opinions and still took part in the discussion. Which, without a vote, are two crucial things that one can do. It is also not everything. Remember GOTV. I’m on break now, very happy about this. I can finally not worry about assignments to do all the time, but to keep pushing myself. I’m still going to work through this break a little bit. The most exciting thing I’m looking forward to on this break is a three day hike I will be taking from the Mediterranean sea to the Sea of Galilee. That’s all folks, Israel is just as young as we all are, but only at its heart, and that is how many times they have held democratic elections. That’s right all those people who don’t like Israel it is the one place in this part of the world with a democratic system.

By Benjamin Aviv

Today it rains in Jerusalem.  This rain has not stopped me from really appreciating how well my first week has gone in the state of Israel! I began my time here in Israel spending a day with my cousin and his family who live in Jerusalem. Although, for most of that day I was jet lagged and really tired, so I slept a lot. However, the food I ate in that day was really good home cooked food.

Day One at Hebrew University I am the last one to my suite because my cousin and I, along with a language barrier that I hope to be able to completely overcome by the end of the semester, got lost on where to drop me off. The dorm is really nice, each person has their own room. After settling in they gave us a campus tour beginning with the walk from the student village to the main campus. (כפר הםטודנטים). On the main campus they showed  us the two different areas in which there are beautiful views of the city.

Day Two was the first day of Winter Ulpan, in which I began in Aleph 6 - which is the highest level of the beginning level of Ulpan. Ulpan is intensive Hebrew. However, on Day 3 I tried out the Bet level and liked the fact that I could understand the lesson and it wasn’t all review so decided to permanently move into that class.

Anyway, the first two days are what have set the tone for the semester because they went well, and the first week has been a really good week. I am just excited for the opportunity to get to experience the culture of Jerusalem, the culture of Israel in general and the culture will be experienced through my lens as a student for the first time in Israel.

For the next blog, look forward to hearing about my trip that I will be taking to a local kibbutz for a chocolate tasting, along with the classes I will be taking and whether or not I will add to my experience abroad in Israel by seeing what it is like to intern and be a student in Jerusalem.

Signing off,

Ben Aviv.