Israeli student representatives mingling in Qatar.

Here’s a little contact theory for y’all on a dreary Tuesday:

Israeli, Syrian high school students meet in Qatar

“A delegation of Israeli high school students attended an international convention in Qatar, simulating the United Nations…

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…” (ynet)

Reading things like this used to make my stomach churn. Israeli representatives? Within this crowd? But it seems the students made quite an impression:

“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.”

Apparently the Israeli delegation was one of the largest, which is nice to hear. The article continues to describe relations between the Israeli students and their counterparts from what are considered ‘hostile’ countries – especially Syria and Lebanon. It seems at first, debates were heated and very political, but as time went on (and contact increased) the students engaged in other forms of conversing – gadgets, soccer – and relations warmed somewhat:

“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.”

I always wonder, if to some degree, world leaders do the same when they meet. Of course, I don’t just mean the friendly ones. Is there a point where they are worn down enough to crack a joke? To make a comment about the upcoming Olympics?

Anyway, back to our students:

“‘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,’ [said Israeli commerce attache Roi Rosenblit]…”

Well, good for them! Pats on the back all around. I hope to read more stories like this more often.

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