From our Executive Director
A week ago, for a moment, it seemed like a ray of light pierced the darkness. The prime minister and the leader of the opposition spoke together about a historic opportunity for peace that would justify a partnership between them. By the next day it was clear that the light was from the engine of the train of war and hate … and we got a right-wing nationalist government.
In the choice between peace and war, between democracy and ethnocracy, in the choice between a politics of fear and a politics of hope, again and again my beloved country chooses the slippery slope that leads to ruin.
But we have not gathered here today for the sake of anger and wailing. We have gathered here to strengthen the construction, the partnership, the hope, the true light and not the false.
We have gathered together because we are connected partners in the society which is marching toward that slippery slope, but we are also working to prevent the crash and to create an alternative.
2500 years ago, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “When a group of people are marching downhill, the last one is the highest.” And we truly are heading downhill, but we are the last, who are in the highest place, which demands responsibility, a clear strategy, precise implementation, belief in our way, and love. Yes, love.
Martin Luther King said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” While we in Israel speak with contempt of “lovers of Arabs”, or of those who want to create partnership with “the Zoabis”.
And I say – they who speak of Arabs flocking to the polls, and they who are not ready to live in partnership with the Arab citizens of Israel, and they who see love of Arabs as mistaken or a shortcoming; they are the ones who endanger our future, the future of our shared country, Israel.
And I have a small confession: I am a lover of Arabs.
I love Riad and Mohammed, my partners, from whom I learn something new every day. I love Samer and Anhar and Razal and Zakaria and Nasrin and Hassan and all my wonderful comrades here at Givat Haviva, with whom we are turning hate into friendship and love.
But I don’t stop at love – I celebrate the opportunity to live together with Arabs. I celebrate the enriching cultural diversity, the opportunities for economic development, the food, and the music – some of which we’ll hear later today. As President Rubi Rivlin said at the Givat Haviva Conference last year, “We are not doomed but fated to walk this road together.” read more