Teach For America (TFA) is best known for dispatching hundreds of idealistic college graduates to work in inner cities across the United States each year, but it also sends selected members on free, religious-themed tours of Israel.
Called The Reality Israel Experience, the TFA-sponsored trips bring idealistic young American teachers into contact with Israeli politicians and military personnel while “introducing [TFA] corps members to Israel’s education and social justice systems.”
According to testimonies featured on Reality Israel’s official website, participants are at times led by a “military tour guide,” visit with Israeli military educators at an army base “near Jerusalem” (in the occupied West Bank?), and enjoy “ATV off-roading all over the Golan Heights,” an Israeli-occupied region of Syria.
The Reality Israel Experience is largely a project of Lynn Schusterman, the wealthy widow of the oil and gas tycoon Charles Schusterman. Since taking control of her husband’s fortune, she has established a reputation as one of America’s most aggressive backers of pro-Israel campus advocacy, funding campus-oriented ventures like Birthright Israel and The David Project.