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April 23, 2015 3:43 pm

Newspaper Profiles ‘Beautiful Israelis’ All Around the World for Independence Day

avatar by David Daoud

Israelis around the world doing good deeds are breaking the image of the "Ugly Israeli." PHOTO: Channel 2 News.

In honor of Independence Day, Israeli media is profiling “Beautiful Israelis” from around the world, whose good deeds are giving Israel a positive image in other countries.

One often hears about the “ugly Israeli” – tourists from Israel whose rude and rambunctious behavior paints a very negative image of Israelis abroad, Israel’s Channel 2 said. But the Israelis who are being profiled today have chosen to devote their lives to the service of others, each in their own way, in different parts of the globe, and are acting to change that perception of the Israeli as a rude and pushy individual.

Peleg Cohen, 31, from Nahariya is one of those individuals. “I set a goal for myself to travel to 100 countries. And when I realized that goal, my mother told me, ‘now you need a new dream.'”

Cohen joined a group of individuals who volunteer around the globe, and now he travels from place to place, helping individuals in his own way. He helped establish a nutritional and hygiene program for children in the Philippines, visited Jewish prisoners in Japan and established a kosher restaurant in Korea. Asked what motivates him to do these deeds, he said, “it’s good for my karma. The satisfaction of helping people is much greater than just visiting these countries. I have the ability and the time, and it feels great.”

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Yael Kenigsberg, 23, from Herzliya, is another individual who was featured. Yael flew to Sri Lanka six days after she finished her regular Israeli Army service. She worked for a month in an orphanage with newborn babies, and helped educate young girls. She also volunteered in Mexico for two weeks on a project to rescue sea turtles, and two more weeks at an English-speaking children’s rehabilitation center. After that she moved to Costa Rica, rescuing animals. And she doesn’t plan on stopping there. She’s pushed forward by the feeling that “this is the right thing to do. It started as an idea and it gave meaning to my travels, and because of that, I wanted to continue.”

These are but two of the people being profiled. Many other Israelis, with similar motivations to help others have been traveling around the world and donating their time and energies in the service of those in need. Ethiopia, Nepal, Zanzibar, and South America are just a few of the countries where they have left behind a positive foot-print.

They are helping to build housing, assisting with orphans and planting crops. They vary in age, come from different parts of Israel and have various backgrounds, but their goals and cause are almost identical, rooted in the ideals of the State of Israel and Zionism: being a light unto the nations.

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