Etgar 36

Day 36-Washington D.C. to Gastonia, North Carolina-by Jordan Kaplan

The last day of our journey was a memorable one.

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We began by meeting with AIPAC, at their building in downtown Washington D.C.  AIPAC, which stands for American Israel Public Affairs Committee, advocates for a strong relationship between the United States and Israel. Their main focus is maintaining the funding that the U.S. gives to Israel each year. Another main point of their presentation was their belief that the U.S. should leave the Israeli government alone to make their own decisions. This is the key distinction I found between this organization and J-Street, whom we met with earlier in the week. They, on the other hand, felt that the U.S. should also play a pivotal role in the peacemaking process. I believe that the two groups are more similar than different because both of the lobbyist groups believe in a two state solution. I was surprised to hear the presenter say that they “agreed with J-Street.”

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After the meeting, we went to the Jefferson Memorial, which concluded our stay in Washington D.C. The view was nice, but soon enough it was time to head onwards to North Carolina.

After our last fun-filled bus ride (which I will miss greatly), we stopped outside of Charlotte, North Carolina for the night.

Finally, we had our last Etgar 36 wrap-up, where we all shared our thoughts about the trip, as well as our favorite memories. Although it seemed like we just started the journey the other day, somehow, we were already reflecting on what we had learned. Billy addressed the group and made sure we knew that the end of the trip did not mean the end of the journey. He explained that this was just the beginning of our getting involved in the community and trying to make a difference in the world.

Personally, I want to thank all of the staff on the trip: Earle, Kiki, Samuel, Robin, Mike, Billy, and Tommy. Without you guys, this amazing and fulfilling summer would not have been possible. Of course, how could I forget all of us 2014 Etgarians? You guys truly encompass what us Etgarians are: a tight-knit family who has made so many amazing connections. I already know what it is like to leave and miss you all, and it still will be hard to leave you all again. Have a great year, y’all!