That’s my opening question to many groups when I give a talk about Israeli innovation and creativity.
Religion. War. History.
Those are usually the top three answers.
Yes, even as we head into this new decade, these are the first answers given.
Even though the group has invited me to talk about innovation.
Even though Israel’s startups are headline news.
This tiny country, which sits comfortably on many tourist destination lists, which has been lauded as a foodie destination, with amazing beaches, and which is bursting with culture, creativity and ingenuity, still elicits ‘religion, war and history’ as a first answer to what does Israel mean to foreigners.
What does Israel mean to young Israelis?
Aha. That’s another question. And one I’m working to find out.
Next week, I’ll be giving two talks to middle school kids. In Hebrew. In Israel.
I’m set to talk to them about my being a storyteller – and how I tell Israel’s innovation stories to visitors and people abroad. Through journalism. Through talks that I give.
But I also hope to hear from them: What does Israel mean to them.
And what does Israel mean to you?