800+ Campus Leaders Convene for Hillel’s Israel Summit



February 26, 2024

Largest pro-Israel student gathering this year features remarks from key leaders, thought-provoking masterclass sessions and moments of togetherness

ATLANTA – More than 800 pro-Israel student leaders convened in Atlanta for Hillel International’s Israel Summit – the largest gathering of Jewish college students this year focused on Israel and countering anti-Jewish hate, at a time of rapidly rising antisemitism on college campuses. 

Hillel International, the world’s largest Jewish college organization with a presence on more than 850 campuses globally, has tracked more than 1,000 incidents of antisemitism on college campuses since October 7 alone. The Israel Summit included student leaders, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, from more than 200 campuses across the country.

Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International, who recently returned from a visit to Israel with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, told the student leaders assembled, “This moment calls for serious leadership. And that’s why your coming together for this Israel Summit is so important. When I told the leaders I met that more than 800 pro-Israel students would be attending this convening, they were moved and inspired.”

In addition to keynote remarks from Nova Music Festival survivor Millet Ben Haim, Soviet dissident and human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Clark Atlanta University President George French Jr., and Israeli government spokesperson and social media sensation Eylon Levy, along with a video address from Israeli President Isaac Herzog, student leaders took part in “masterclass” sessions featuring experts in campus advocacy, Middle East policy, Black and Jewish relationship-building, and Jewish communal leadership. 

Session facilitators included Melissa Weiss, executive editor of Jewish Insider, Amb. Dennis Ross, a lead peace negotiator in Democratic and Republican administrations, Eylon Levy, Israeli government spokesperson, and Joshua Cohen, speechwriter and senior advisor at the U.S. Department of State. Renay Blumenthal, vice president of The Marcus Foundation, a leading supporter of Israel Summit, addressed the students at a gala dinner at the Georgia Aquarium. Yair Rosenberg, staff writer at The Atlantic, also discussed contemporary antisemitism and journalism.

Jillian Lederman, a senior at Brown University and chair of Hillel’s Israel Leadership Network, told attendees at the gala dinner at the Georgia Aquarium, “Sitting at these tables are students who have authored op-eds, appeared on national television stations, crushed BDS resolutions, and testified before the United States Congress. They are joined by Hillel professionals who have sacrificed their days, nights, time, sleep, and sanity to be constant fonts of support and advice. During what could have been our very loneliest moments on campus, the Jewish community has never been more closely connected than it is today.”

Matthew Bronfman, chair of Hillel International’s Board of Governors, praised the student leaders, sharing, “You are leading your campuses to stand strong with Israel and stand up against hate, anti-Zionism and antisemitism. You brought thousands of your peers to Washington this past November to March for Israel, and you have ensured that the hostages remain constantly in the hearts and prayers of your campus communities. You have the ability to make sense out of the chaos, and you provide each of us with what we as a community need most right now — hope.”

This year’s Israel Summit, the seventh, is the largest gathering of pro-Israel student leaders this year. When students return to campus, they will continue to benefit from Hillel’s Israel Leadership Network, the largest pro-Israel student leadership body, as they lead on their individual campuses.

For more information on Israel Summit, Hillel’s tracking of antisemitic incidents on campus, and broader work of fostering Jewish student community in the face of hate, please contact Blake Goodman at [email protected] or (202) 531-6404.