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At Israeli consulate, alum helps cultivate relationships

Alumnus Ross Parker

North­eastern alumnus Ross Parker, SSH’13, and his friends jok­ingly agree: if Birthright Israel develops a major adver­tising cam­paign, then he would make for the quin­tes­sen­tial spokesperson.

Birthright is a 10-​​day edu­ca­tional trip to Israel aimed at strength­ening young Jewish people’s interest in the country’s cul­ture. After going on Birthright two years ago through North­eastern, Parker is now working for the Israeli gov­ern­ment as the director of press and polit­ical affairs at the Con­sulate Gen­eral of Israel to New England.

“I’m kind of the poster child for Birthright,” Parker said with a laugh.

When he came to North­eastern, Parker intended to work in crim­inal jus­tice after grad­u­a­tion. But it was a co-​​op at the Mass­a­chu­setts State­house, where he interned for a state sen­ator, that inspired him to pursue a career in pol­i­tics rather than law. Parker said it was inter­esting to see con­stituent issues trans­form into leg­isla­tive action.

In his final semester this spring, he interned with the Israeli con­sulate, an expe­ri­ence that later turned into a full-​​time position.

“I was kind of all in at that point after I worked in pol­i­tics for the first time,” Parker said.

At the con­sulate, his respon­si­bil­i­ties range from main­taining rela­tion­ships between his office and politi­cians throughout New Eng­land to mon­i­toring local media cov­erage about Israel and the Middle East. He even returned to campus last month to attend an event marking the pub­li­ca­tion of Prof. Bill Miles’ newest book, Afro-​​Jewish Encoun­ters: From Tim­buktu to the Indian Ocean and Beyond.

“There are def­i­nitely a varying degree of views [among the Jewish-​​American com­mu­nity],” said Parker, a former member of Huskies for Israel, Northeastern’s pro-​​Israel stu­dent orga­ni­za­tion. “You have to appre­ciate everyone’s opinion for what it is. That just comes with job of working for an Israeli gov­ern­ment office.”

Parker noted that his co-​​op expe­ri­ences have pre­pared him for his role at the con­sulate. “It was a seam­less tran­si­tion between school and work,” he explained. “Get­ting that expe­ri­ence doing intern­ships or co-​​ops equipped me with the skills to take on this kind of respon­si­bility a month after graduating.”

In the future, he hopes to return to Israel in a pro­fes­sional capacity, but he could not be hap­pier in his cur­rent role. “As a first job out of col­lege,” he said, “I couldn’t really have asked for more than this.”

– By Joe O’Connell

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