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From falafel to electric cars to gay rights: events and festivities associated with Israel Week run the gamut.

Organized mainly by student organizations affiliated with Hillel’s Israel Sector, this annual event — running from April 4 to April 7 — offers a number of activities on campus that celebrate Israeli culture.

Student leaders and organizers hope that Israel Week’s offerings can appeal to students beyond the Hillel community and counterbalance some of the negative, war-oriented associations people have about Israel.

College freshman Josh Cooper, an intern with Hillel’s Israel Sector, said there is definitely a “stigma” associated with Israel.

“When you think of Israel, you think of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” he said. Many people don’t realize that Israel is this “incredibly cultural, vibrant nation.”

A large part of the effort behind Israel Week, Cooper explained, is to have students experience Israeli culture beyond what the “media likes putting out there.”

Wharton senior and Israel Week Committee Chairman Elad Golan echoed this sentiment.

“Whenever [Americans] read about Israel, all we read about is the tragedies that go on because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Golan said. “I think that many people are even scared to visit there because they think it’s a warzone.”

“But in reality … Israel is an amazing country,” he added.

Cooper also noted that it can be challenging for students to be pro-Israel on college campuses, where movements that stigmatize the nation — such as Israeli Apartheid Week — are prevalent.

Monday’s event, which featured a screening of the documentary film Crossing the Line, addressed this issue.

The movie demonstrated how being pro-Israel is often not seen as a “positive trait,” College senior and President of the Penn Israel Coalition Evan Philipson said. The film also addresses how to “effectively respond and deal with those issues.”

According to College sophomore and Israel Sector Chairwoman Tamar Karpuj, another important mission of Israel Week is to reach students beyond the Hillel Community. To this end, the Israel Sector has collaborated with other organizations such as the Chinese Student Association and the Penn Environmental Group, she said.

Golan agreed, pointing to Wednesday night’s event, which featured guest speaker Mike Granoff, the head of Oil Independence Policies for Better Place — an Israeli company that focuses on sustainable transportation. At the event, Granoff discussed the future of electric cars and oil independence.

One of the things we’re hoping to highlight with this event, Golan said, is that for many years, Israel has been a place of technological innovation.

“Israel was the country that invented the cell phone,” Golan said. Other technologies have included the Intel Pentium Processor, America Online Instant Messenger and voicemail, he added.

But because Israel’s image has been so damaged by the media’s attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, “no one really recognizes this,” he said.

Note: This article was updated from its original version to reflect that Better Place is a company, rather than a blog.

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