Jewish students celebrate Israel’s independence

Danielle Directo

Israel’s 60th anniversary of independence was celebrated yesterday by Jewish students with Israel Fest 2008.

The event, held in front of Bayramian Hall, featured free food and henna tattoos, along with information booths from non-profit, activist and on-campus organizations.

Karen Kline, a graduating communications major, organized the event.

“Our very main goal is to advocate a positive image of the only democracy in the Middle East,” said Kline.

She said she hopes the event helps others learn about Israel’s contributions and encourages other Jewish students to be “proactive instead of reactive.”

A small group of protesters stood in front of the event holding a Palestinian flag and a sign that read, “60 Years Is Enough,” and chanted, “No justice, no peace, U.S. occupation out of the Middle East!”

Julia Pitt, a cinema and television arts major who participated in the protest, said she was inspired by MEChA’s protest against military recruiters who visited the CSUN campus.

“We’re not representing any organization, we decided this to do this on our own,” said Pitt. “We hope (people) do their own research (on the Israel-Palestinian conflict),” she said.

Noah Oiknine, a sophomore business law major who attended the festival, said it was “disrespectful” of the protesters to stand in front of the event.

“We have such a little piece of land,” he said. “It’s our day of celebration?I wish (the protesters) would handle the situation more maturely,” said Oiknine.

Kline acknowledged the protesters, saying, “They have the right to voice their opinions,” she said. “Our cultures have more in common than we think, we wouldn’t go to their (event) site and yell.”

Souzan Amer, a Palestinian liberal studies major, said Palestine’s voice in the media is “very vague, very edited.”