“I have to be honest: I didn’t know a lot of about Israel the first time I came here,” says Pascaline in the second five-minute episode of Onliners, entitled “Israel?! Seriously?” She candidly reveals that her first trip was simply to follow her Jewish now-ex-boyfriend, and she found Israelis to be rude, loud and difficult. “This is exactly what I started loving here because it made me more assertive.”
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The group of 23 Israeli college students chose Pascaline Wagemans from Belgium, Simon Baaske from Austria and Danielle Gershon from the United States — all studying at Israeli universities this year – to answer a question in a weekly video during the three-month summer semester to present an authentic youthful perspective on the “real” Israel.
This week’s question: “Why Israel?”
Danielle, who expected sand and camels on her first visit at age 12, says it was “a big shocker; a good shocker” to discover how developed Israel actually is. She decided then and there to come back for college.
As for Simon, he always has to explain to friends back home – and to Israelis, too — why he chose not only Israel (“a land of mystery”), but Beersheva in the south – not the most hip and happening area. An international relations student, he says he wanted to immerse himself among real Israelis to better understand daily life outside tourist venues.
Will Pascaline cross the line between assertive and obnoxious? Will Danielle continue her love affair with Israel? Will Simon get bored and hot in the Negev? Stay tuned.