‘Israel Week’ kicked off on Sunday this week at Cal Poly with the San Luis Obispo Hillel painting the “P” blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag. 

Israel Week is intended to commemorate the holidays Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Veterans’ Day, April 24 and Yom Ha’atmutz, Israeli Independence Day, April 25. 

“It’s a celebration throughout the world … rallying supporters of the state of Israel and Jews to celebrate that Israel exists,” Director of SLO Hillel Lauren Bandari said. 

Israel Week is being put on by the San Luis Obispo Hillel, Mustangs United for Israel, San Luis Obispo Chabad and Mishelanu.

“If [Israel Week] strikes cords that make others feel negatively, I just really welcome a true authentic dialogue together,” Bandari said. “But also it’s a space for Jews or any supporters of Israel to celebrate that the country even exists and to even have the freedom to put a Magen David (Jewish Star of David) on the ‘P.’”

Over the past few months, Israel has been rocked by the largest series of demonstrations in Israeli history. These protests were spurred by Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu’s attempt to limit the independence of the Israeli Judiciary. Over 500,000 Israelis have hit the streets in protest of Netanyahu’s judicial reform plan which they claim will end Israeli democracy, as reported by Politico.   

On Monday, there was a memorial service for fallen Israel soldiers at the Chumash auditorium, where candles were lit.

On Tuesday, there was an Israeli Shuk, or marketplace, on Dexter lawn filled with different Israeli foods and products. Bandari added that “experts from organizations that work with organizations to advocate for Israel,” were present at the Shuk and other events.

On Thursday, there will be a Tel Aviv day on the beach volleyball courts. Attendees will be able to play Israeli games and listen to Israeli music

Bandari added that on Friday there will be a “Jew-nity Prom,” followed by an open Shabbat in the UU on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“I think that it is a beautiful expression of what democracy is, as the citizens [are] able to hit the streets and really advocate for what they want of their vision of the state of Israel,” Bandari said.

Those interested in Israel Week can visit @slohillel on Instagram for more details.