Young Aussie interns in the Israeli Government and lands dream political leadership job

August 17, 2016 by Hayley Hadassin
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Not many people get insider access and work experience in a foreign government but that’s just what Benjamin Saling, from Melbourne has been spending the past 10 months doing.

Ben Saling

Ben Saling

Ben is 28 and recently finished his masters in International relations from the University of Melbourne. Upon completion of his degree Ben expressed interest through the Masa Israel office at the Zionist federation of Australia’s Israel Program Department to participate in the prestigious Israel Government Fellowship Program. The program is a selective fellowship program for young Jewish adults from around the world.

The Israel Government Fellowship Program (IGF) engages its participants in a full-time internship placement in a government department, a policy-based think tank or a politically-oriented non-governmental organisation in Israel, providing fellows with unique and competitive professional experience in policy-making and political processes.

Ben with Israeli's Attorney-General Avichai Mendebit

Ben with Israeli’s Attorney-General Avichai Mendebit

Ben was placed in the Eurasia Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs working directly with the director and staff of the division. In his role he provided research support and compiled reports on a range of issues of importance to Russian-Israeli bilateral ties. Throughout his time in the Ministry he had the opportunity to forge strong ties with likeminded, energetic and highly aspirational and inspirational young Israeli professionals. Ben also had the opportunity to connect with officials and diplomats who are deeply involved in managing Israel’s diplomatic relations with the world. ‘’Working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you’re always bound to run into an all-star of Israeli politics and diplomacy or a high-level delegation from overseas” Says Ben.

Israel Government Fellows (IGF) is a program also designed to familiarise its participants with Israel’s political and social landscape through a strong seminar-based curriculum. The program brings key educators, politicians, stakeholders, decision-makers and opinion leaders together around a diverse range of issues of critical import in the Israeli public policy conversation.

“Prior to IGF I had never been to Israel and I was looking for a way to live there and truly begin to understand the country on a more profound level. Israel’s history of development, its unique political identity, its security situation and the wider international relations context within which it exists has always intrigued and challenged me. To see all this come alive in a tangible and relatable way through an immersive experience was incredibly meaningful for me. Through the insightful seminars that IGF offered we gained an immense wealth of knowledge from the decades of personal experience and wisdom of many of Israel’s high-level policy-makers as well as a strong academic foundation for understanding Israeli society and politics.

I gained an insightful understanding of the economic, political and strategic facets of this bilateral relationship as well as a wider understanding of Russia’s engagement in the Middle East, Central Asia and the former Soviet space. I also developed strong ties with aspiring professionals within the Ministry who I hope to keep in contact with throughout the development of my career”

Within a week of returning back to Australia and with the unique work experience under his belt, Ben has landed a dream job with the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) as Professional Director of their yearlong political fellowship program, aimed at empowering a generation of Australian Jewish political leadership.

Masa Israel Journey, an organisation supported by the Israeli Government and Jewish Agency for Israel offers young Jewish adults between the ages of 18 and 30 a range of 5-10 month Israel experiences including life –changing gap year, study abroad, volunteer and professional internship program including its flag ship, Israel Government Fellowship Program.  Masa Israel also offers very generous grants and scholarships for eligible applicant. Masa Israel Journey is represented in Australia by the Zionist Federation of Australia’s Israel Program Department which has a dedicated Israel program coordinator, who matches young adults with life changing Israel Programs.

“The Masa Israel IGF program is an unparalleled opportunity for politically minded, young leaders of our community to gain work experience in a foreign government and be mentored by some of the country’s top movers and shakers in Israel’s political landscape. IGF is just one of the many unique programs that Masa Israel Journey offers to young adults of our community. The unique opportunities to intern, volunteer or study in Israel are endless and with the generous universal grants and scholarships afforded by Masa Israel Journey, they are made available and accessible to all eligible applicants”’ says Sarit Braver, ZFA Israel Program Coordinator.

The group

The group

For more information on the program and other options please contact israelprograms@zfa.com.au or have a look at the website http://www.zfa.com.au/want-to-go-to-israel/israelprograms/

 

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