International Relations graduate sets to work building a career — and bridges — in Israel

By Ryan Klinker, October 31, 2019

Liberty University graduate Rachel Prusak (’18) has turned her education in politics, love for Christ, and passion for Middle Eastern cultures into an opportunity to impact the people of Israel.

After graduating from Liberty with a B.A. in International Relations with a specialization in international politics and policy, Prusak moved to Israel to begin her graduate studies in security and diplomacy at Tel Aviv University. In April, she started an internship at the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus, which seeks to build relationships and cooperation between Israeli parliament and Christian leaders in various fields from around the world.

“Israel is really the only free democratic nation in the Middle East, and as Christians, I believe it’s important to support that principle,” Prusak said. “Modern Israel is not the Israel of the Bible, but there are aspects that show that Christians are still related to Israel, and we think it’s important to rally around our similar causes. We’re trying to protect the Jewish people who are targeted around the world, and there are complicated relationships in this country, and Christians should be aware of that.”

As Israel recovers from the government impasse following April’s election, Prusak’s job will start to include more hands-on projects and the chance to hear from various political voices. In the meantime, Prusak has been coordinating the caucus’ social media presence and writing press releases.

“Before the government shut down, I got to go to the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast and hear from different speakers from politics,” Prusak said. “That was my first and last big event, although I did go to others, but now I’m excited to get started with the government back in session, and my job picks up in a lot of major ways now.”

While completing her internship, Prusak is also enrolled at Polis: The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities in a one-year Near Eastern Languages program. She hopes to use this linguistic knowledge to reach people she could not reach when she first arrived in Israel.

“When I came here, I had what I call an ‘American curse’ in that I could only speak one language (English), so I want to learn to communicate with the people more effectively,” Prusak said. “I want to work on peace processes, and I have a heart for the population and want the relationships to improve, but I need to have a handle on the language first.”

She said that she commonly receives both positive and negative reactions to her choice to live in Israel. The people she frequently comes in contact with are rarely the militant or aggressively partisan people some may expect, she explained.

“Some people say it’s an amazing opportunity and place to be, and other people say that it must be scary to live in a place they see as dangerous, that they hear about on the news,” Prusak said. “Despite the political issues, people just want to live their life in most cases, and as much as you hear the worst news, it’s the extremists on both sides that you’re hearing about.”

Learn more about the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus.

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