It’s Our Business.com
“For the sake of Zion, I will not remain silent. For the sake of Jerusalem, I will not rest” ~ Isaiah 62:1
Our project seeks to make a meaningful, humble contribution to ending the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians and to the pursuit of two states living side by side in peace and prosperity. We, Israelis and Americans, are motivated by a deep love for Israel. We also feel abundant concern about the direction Israel is going, particularly as it enters the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War which resulted in Israel exercising control over land in the West Bank and Gaza as well as the millions of Palestinians who live in those territories. In our view, Israel pays a heavy price in maintaining the status quo while at the same time Palestinians suffer from a denial of basic civil and human rights.
We see the real threat of a bi-national state if there is no progress on the ground. A “one-state solution” would not only mark an end to the Jewish homeland but would, in our view, be disastrous for both Israelis and Palestinians. We seek to engage more American Jews, many of whom are currently detached from and apathetic about Israel, and to encourage them to feel that they have the right and obligation to work with Israelis to achieve a solution to a problem that impacts all Jews wherever they may be.
To date, some of the individual members of our group have had extensive conversations with various NGOs who are active around this issue as well as individual social activists with whom we might be able to collaborate. What is clear is that there are a number of activities that are being planned to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War, some of which have a focus compatible with ours.
In addition to the individual conversations we have had, we have had a group conversation and will, in the coming few weeks, have an opportunity for members of our group to have Shabbat dinner together in Jerusalem.
Currently, we are thinking about the following activities:
- We hope to be a resource to our fellow Wexner members and alumni and beyond, to inform them about what is taking place in the territories, how some of those activities are counterproductive to the achievement of a two-state solution to the conflict and how certain activities are incompatible with Israel’s security and the goal of Israel being a “light unto the nations.”
- Second, we hope to provide reading and other materials to better educate ourselves and our colleagues about the effects of the Israeli presence in the Palestinian Territories and how a different reality might be in the best interest of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
- Finally, we hope to host a one-day visit to the West Bank for any and all of the 100 Wexner alumni participants in the culminating meeting of this Summit, scheduled for April 2017 in Zichron Yaakov, to enable them to better understand the reality on the ground.
Most importantly, we do not intend to engage in the “blame game” but instead to promote constructive action that can make a humble contribution to resolving the conflict.
We continue to think through additional activities that might supplement our current ideas or even replace them. We are also struggling around various issues such as how best to make our effort appealing to the largest group of participants or whether such a goal might mean an unacceptable level of compromise on our part. By way of example, we are discussing what language to use that will be the least offensive to the largest group of people.
To date, we have found this exercise most meaningful and look forward to continuing our work together.
Aharon Berenson, WIF Alum (Class 2)
Uri Gopher, WIF Alum (Class 20)
Jill Jacobs, WGF Alum (Class 11)
Geoffrey Lewis, WHP Alum (Boston 2)
Alona Lifshitz, WIF Alum (Class 7)
Nadav Tamir, WIF Alum (Class 15)
Eliezer Ya’ari, WIF Alum (Class 7)
Yanai Yedvab, WIF Alum (Class 21)