Eli Wiesel is an Oleh from Bergenfield, NJ. After two years in yeshiva, he drafted into the Israel Defense Forces and served in Givati, he has since then returned to Yeshiva. Being part of an Israel advocacy group in eleventh grade, Eli thought his connection to Israel would be defending it on a college campus and educating his classmates on the truth. When Eli came to Israel for his gap year in Reishit, he knew that it was now Home.
“We’re more of an adjustment towards living in Israel implanting the idea of what it will be like here and helping whoever needs in making the hard decisions”
First off, could you introduce yourself a little bit?
My name is Eli Wiesel, I was born in the states, lived in New Jersey most of my life, and now live in Efrat with my family. I’m the second oldest child and the second grandson to serve in the IDF. The first being my older brother and third my cousin. That may be a funny way of introducing myself but it shows that Israel isn’t just something that I hold dearly, it’s shared with my family as well.
What was the motivation behind working with IsraeLife?
Zionism as a whole was something instituted in my life from a young age. Both my parents spent multiple years in Israel and we would hear stories about experiences they have had. With the goal to express Aliyah as a viable option, what better way than show all the experiences we have had and you can have? We are taking “lead by doing” to a new measure.
What drew you to invest your time and efforts in IsraeLife?
An opportunity to help convince friends and family to make Aliyah? Wouldn’t pass it up.
Who was the brains behind creating the page?
Ariel Leah Cohen. It’s rare you meet someone as truly passionate about something as Ariel is about Israel. It is easy to forget that America is only temporary, and I think Ariel just wants the world to know it.
Who is IsraeLife geared towards?
Being three college-age students, I feel like our current audience are kids, just like us. We’re hoping to widen the horizon with future content.
What was your top post or video that really hit the ground, and caught people’s attention?
I’m not sure about numbers- but we did a video on Ben Yehuda, where we interviewed gap year students. That was my favorite one, also one of the first ones we did. It gave us insight into what we’re dealing with, in terms of mentality towards Israel. People were sharing and commenting whenever they saw their friends in the video.
Why do you think the views and notice for your videos grew so fast?
Every share helps us reach new communities and circles. Apparently one of our videos went viral in Boston because we featured a local.
Did your time in the army inspire your Aliyah decision? How did it affect you?
It definitely had a positive effect towards Aliyah. The most helpful aspect I got, was the IDF gave me more insight into the Israeli culture which otherwise I might have lacked.
What messages do you try to instill and establish in your posts and videos?
Aliyah is fun! The bravest thing you can do is move halfway around the world to a country with a foreign language, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here, just like you; we’ve got a community of people just waiting to help out.
How do you ensure quality, relevance, and humor in all you share on social media?
Jennifer and I have more or less assumed the roles as ‘content control’. I have the Facebook front while Jennifer manages our Instagram. We discuss current events and brainstorm how we can keep our posts coming. I love it when our followers comment and get involved because it opens up the doors to great banter.
What do you find your viewers like to see?
They want to see the fun, and that’s why we’re here. We enjoy filming and the viewers can tell. There is a sense of joy emanating from our videos and I hope that inspires them.
In your opinion, what are the biggest shocks, or unexpected events for Olim in Israel?
There is a lot of bureaucracy here. Each document leads you to a new office and a new form, luckily there are organizations to help with all that. You may miss Starbucks or Dunkin but the culture here is a beautiful thing, buying into it is the best option. Anyways, Osher Ad sells American products.
Could you give one silver bullet tip for those looking to move to Israel?
Being honest with yourself is the first step, Aliyah should be an option for everyone.
Any other exciting future plans for IsraeLife?
More content all the time. If anyone reading this knows how to reach Gal Gadot, please let us know. We have a spot for her on our team!