This IDF soldier knows that you need to know

This is a republication of an original article written by Lauren Schmidt in the Israel Campus Beat on Wednesday, November 2, 2011.


From standing ovations to interruptions from silent protesters, Nadav Weinberg has experienced a wide range of reactions to his lectures. Weinberg travels to college campuses, in addition to other destinations, to educate people about the ethical codes of the Israel Defense Force through interactive scenarios, video clips and, most importantly, sharing the facts.

a smiling young man with buzzed hair and a collared olive-green shirt looks into the camera

Nadav Weinberg

Although Weinberg’s most recent trip to Washington DC in October led to peaceful and passionate discussion, he encountered controversy on a visit to Arizona State University last fall when members of Students for Justice in Palestine protested his lecture.

“The fact that I got protested made me realize how important my message is,” Weinberg said, explaining that the experience reminded him of the importance of his lectures.

“We’re here to have a rational and civil conversation, because just blaming each other is not going to answer the questions that need to be answered.”

Although disputes have occurred during his lectures, Weinberg has experienced many moments where students with a wide range of views have grown by listening to his views of the conflict and thanked him for offering his perspective.

“If I am able to reach out like that in each speech, that is unbelievable and I have done my job,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg, who was born in Jerusalem but raised in Cleveland, decided to join the IDF after graduating from Case Western Reserve University in 2008. While sitting in an ethics seminar during Special Forces training, he realized that the information he was learning was not common knowledge. Ever since that moment, Weinberg has been determined to share what he has learned with people across the U.S., especially students.

Emily Seckel, the president of George Washington University’s Student Alliance for Israel, is confident that Weinberg’s recent visit to GW, which drew more than 60 students, was a success.

“The point of his presentation was to get the student body thinking,” Seckel said. “Nadav really got them thinking about choices they would make as a solider and left them pondering more questions. I want people to leave events questioning, thinking about Israel, and creating a desire to know more.”

Junior Marissa Ostroff attended Weinberg’s GW lecture and was also pleased with this event.

“After his presentation, I came away with a better understanding of how the Palestinian terrorists under Hamas, in Gaza, use bystanders as human shields. I also learned how soldiers in the most humanitarian army in the world, the Israel Defense Force, are taught to defend themselves in situations of potential terrorist attacks against them,” Ostroff explained.

Weinberg stressed the importance of campus advocacy and noted that students have the power to make a difference, but they need to understand the issues, be well informed and keep focused on their goals.

“In order to do our part, we need to learn facts and learn how to advocate for Israel,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg has visited Johns Hopkins, George Mason, Georgetown, Stanford, and additional community gatherings and high school youth groups in addition to his visit to George Washington University this semester. He will visit Miami University in Ohio, Carleton University in Canada, UPenn, Temple University, Brandeis, University of Colorado, and Kent State in the upcoming weeks.


About the Author

Lauren Schmidt is a reporter for the Israel Campus Beat.