The First Israeli In The Elections

April 8, 2024
Eliya Hajjaj

Be'er Sheva, Israel

Class of 2025

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The first Israeli for the election, "36th Grand Aleph Shaliach"

As Israelis, we were always part of BBYO. However, we didn't feel completely 100% because we were a compatible movement but not the same and that's what I wanted to change. After October 7, I realized that something had to change because apart from a few Israelis who are in BBYO chapters and maybe a few staff members, there is no Israeli teenager. As a resident of Israel who links the organization in a real way to Israel and who is diligent in the organization, I realized that this is a problem that I am coming to change, I decided to be the first Israeli to approach the position of the organization's author to Israel, to bring Israeli traditions to the organization, and to bring an Israeli perspective and representation that the youth in the organization will recognize. Of course when I signed up to be a candidate, only I began to understand that with each step I encountered more difficult and challenging questions, questions that I had not encountered before at any point in my life, there were times when I thought of giving up, but each time I also remembered why I was doing this, that I was doing this to make the voice of the Israeli youth heard to raise awareness about bbyo, to deepen the organization's connection to the Jewish state, to make every Jewish youth in the entire world no matter what they have a home in Israel they have a family that will always accept them. Even if the world collapses to remind all Jews in the world why our country exists and why for 2000 years our forefathers and our generation have been sacrificing our dearest sons and daughters to prevent disasters.

2 other Israelis also ran with me, Tal Weitzman and Liane Elimelech, Tal for the role of 100th Grand Aleph Godol and Liane for the role of 80th Anita M. Perlman International N’siah. We made history in BBYO, and Maccabi Tzair in that we ran three Israelis for the international board, with this title came many feelings mainly of fear, anxiety, the desire not to disappoint our friends and our country. But with them, feelings of hope and understanding of "we are changing history even as we face it at all" and the tremendous honor we were privileged to receive.

The speech: I was afraid of the speech, especially after I found out that neither Liane nor Tal was able to get the position and that everything was on my shoulders, and they saw it as a person who had made many speeches in the past and was considered good at it, I had never been as anxious and tense as I was in a speech, and seeing this, I was stuck Lots and I saw black in the eyes, no word can describe it better than blackout.

After the speech, I was very disappointed not because I had disappointed someone else or even me very much. But because I felt that I had disappointed my country, let down my heritage, and also that I had lost the ability to change and bring something new to BBYO.

Now, after two whole months, I'm still miserable, but I'm also happy that I had the privilege of going through this amazing experience and that I had the privilege of representing my country. And Logan, one of my mentors at LGLA who was successfully elected to the position, is a person who, even though I didn't know him in my personal life, always In the zooms I had with him, is one of the most talented and intelligent people I have known in my entire life and that no one deserves the position more than him.

And to finish. Many thanks to everyone I met along the way and thanks to BBYO and AZA for giving me the experience and the privilege to go through it, and what? See you next year at the 101st election? "Your 101st Grand Aleph Godol" - Eliya Liam Hajjaj from Israel? No one knows, but what is certain is that I will continue to give all my heart and strength to continue contributing to BBYO and will be as active as I can even if I do not succeed as the Shaliach I will try in some other way to remind all that a Jewish person in the world is not alone, no matter what.

Eliya Liam Hajjaj is an Aleph from Be’er Sheva Nahal Eshan, Israel and is in Maccabi Tzair.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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