A Deeper Understanding

Julie Jakobsgaard, an Irwin Cotler Fellow for 2023-2024 from Denmark, is fascinated by the complexities and unique challenges of Israeli society.

Born and raised mainly in Denmark, her academic background concentrated on the study of human rights and diasporas, particularly concerning the contribution of organizations related to Judaism and Israel. This interest, combined with her experience working at the Danish Parliament, led to her choice of pursuing a master’s in security and diplomacy studies as a natural next step. For Julie, being able to participate in the Fellowship provides the opportunity to explore and experience Israeli society and history in greater depth, thereby facilitating a better understanding of the country’s intricacies and conflicts.

Since her arrival in Israel, Julie has managed to expand her knowledge of the country by traveling and engaging with locals. She has enjoyed her time in the vibrant and international environment of Tel Aviv, visited Nazareth and Haifa, and taken trips to Jerusalem where she has visited the Old City and attended classes at a seminary. During her travels, she has also spent a Shabbat in Zikron Ya’akov and on the outskirts of Jerusalem where she experienced unmatched hospitality and marveled at Israel’s extraordinary natural beauty.

Despite the difficult times that the country is currently facing, Julie thinks of her experience of Israeli society as being one of unity and resilience. She particularly notes all the volunteering opportunities that have been made available and that enabled even international students like herself to contribute. Seeing how the country came together at a time of crisis has inspired Julie and fundamentally changed her perspective on the future of coexistence and democracy- in Israel and beyond.