In one of my first Islam classes in Jerusalem my professor totally put me on the spot. He spent the entire first half of the lesson discussing the American ignorance when it comes to Israel and the people living there. Were it not completely true, it wouldn't been completely offensive.
Once his rant was done, he turned to me and said, "You. Let me prove my point. What did you know about the Israeli people before you came here?"
Wow. What am I even suppose to say? I racked my brain for the last bit of news I had heard about the Middle East, and quickly realized that my habit of not watching the news was catching up to me. In the end I completely proved his point as I spit out some crap comment about 9/11 and the news coverage it got. Ten years ago. Nice.
My knowledge could not have changed more in four months.
Not only did we study Judaism and Islam in our classes, we lived with the people. I got firsthand experience with the conflict and I now have my own educated views on the topic.
But for those of you who haven't spent four months living in the Middle East, have no fear, there are other ways of learning about the conflict.
For example, you could read this article.
Don't be intimidated by the thought of an article on the Middle East. I know it sounds daunting, but it's awesome. It was written by my lovely roommate who studied the topic diligently and even interviewed my Jerusalem family.
The article is successful in describing the situation, and does an excellent job summarizing the things we learned while living in the Holy Land.
So go ahead, take a few minutes to educate yourselves.