Public Advocacy: Israel and It’s Neighbors

During the course of several weeks, I’ve listened to people expressing their “feelings” about Israel and what they wish for Israel’s future.  It is their vision for Israel and it has totally changed my perspective of how “modern” Israeli’s see themselves and want to be seen.  I have only met Arab Israeli’s on taxi rides through Tel Aviv in 2011 and in the West Bank during my SWFS mission on 1/20/13.


These are my impressions:


  • During my earlier trip to Israel with my grandson, I “interviewed a taxi driver”, in Tel Aviv.  He was extremely courteous and mentioned that his family had lived in Jaffa for 5 centuries.  He was thankful to the Israeli’s for their help in educating his family, but would not consider fighting in the Military, even if he could, because he would never pick up arms against another Arab.  He told us he was happy to remain in Israel.
  • This year, I traveled on a mission to Israel with my synagogue.  The trip was very intense, very “political” and life changing.  Since my trip, I’ve met and discussed Israel, it’s people and their dreams many times.  /li>
  • When I read the news this morning, The Economist mentioned that the Fugard play, The Island, played to a packed house in Jenin, my heart sank.  Sadness overwhelmed me, just as it did, when I’ve seen Fugard plays in NY. It was easier to bear the pain, when it referred to South Africa and their struggle and not my “beloved” Israel.  iBut there is another side to this story and I am only recently becoming aware of both sides.  Israel does not wish to be thought of as “racist”.  Neither would I.  I have a heart and feelings for all people.  I believe we are all the same, if we can only concentrate on our” humanness”.
  • Several weeks ago, I was called to a meeting at the SWFS, because a young member of the Knesset was coming to speak with us off the record.  Her name was Merav Michaeli, no older then my daughter, formidable and fierce in her demeanor.   Her words were heart wrenching:  she was looking for equality for women and others.  There was an intensity about her and an urgency, she wanted peace and peace now.  She was well aware of the difficulties, but insistent that Peace was possible.
  • Next I was invited to join Arza World, they were the group who sponsored our mission to Israel.  They too, were looking for Peace and acceptance.  Their Mission was one of  inclusion of Reform Judaism within the larger population of Israel.  Their statement of Purpose, “ARZA links the people and institutions of the Reform Movements in Israel and the United States, who share a love of Israel and a belief in K’lal Yisrael – Jewish peoplehood. Just as Christianity has many shades of belief .  Faith and humanness can not be defined by one group.  The key to surviving together, is accepting our differences as we try to live together.
  • My last experience, was presented @ a meeting of Friends of Technion, on Monday evening. The American Technion Society, invited me to an evening with Eyal Kaplan, Chairman of Expand Investment Partners and the Managing General Partner with Walden Israel.  He’s also the Chairman of the Board of the Technion Alumni Association.  He has a vision for Israel that sounded Utopian. /li>


Mr. Kaplan sees Israel as the center of a vast Technological exportable expansion, that is all inclusive.  He is mindful of his neighborhood and sees a shared vision for growth, similar to the EU.

Though Israel has vast Natural gas reserves,The Technion wants to increase their nascent Dept of Energy to 150 Professors.  They want to understand the mining and extraction process.


Additionally, they are aware that Engineers, do not make “good managers” and they are trying to put a human face on math and engineering.  They are going into communities and high schools and developing analytical as well as humane traits.


Their problems are similar to those experienced in the USA.  Like us they are struggling with new technologies.  They realize they have inequities in their system and wish to correct them.  Based upon my knowledge of Technion, I believe them to be sincere. 


Israel, as a Democracy, understands it’s time to move forward.  They would take the leap toward Peace with willing Partners. I’ve tried to understand the Israeli narrative, it’s the only one I know. We all have choices. Time to stop the old dance. Listen to the other narratives and work toward Peace?

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