From our Chief Executive: August 2017

The last few weeks have been a fearful time in Israel, particularly in Jerusalem. My colleagues in Israel are not letting it stand in the way of continuing to press for our values.

I write on Tisha B’Av which is one of the most poignant dates in the Jewish calendar and marks the destruction of the Temple along with many tragedies throughout Jewish history. Whilst I would not try to make any connections between this and current events, one of the teachings from Tisha B’Av, the need to understand the profound experience of fear and to find messages of hope and healing, feels particularly relevant to today.

The NIF community in Israel has something to offer at this moment. We can and must help Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem better understand each other. We can and must bring Jewish and Palestinian Israelis together and foster a sense of solidarity. And we can and must continue to advocate for religious freedom and equality, even when the public focus has shifted to security matters.

In the past fortnight our colleagues have done all of these things — from the incredible reporting of Ir Amim, to the advocacy efforts of Sikkuy, to the preparations for Wednesday’s Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance — we are doing everything in our power to press ahead.

In moments when violence threatens to overtake everything else, it is too easy to lose sight of the reality that, in the long run, it is the actions of the many individuals who make up Israeli civil society that are the best hope for realizing an Israel that is at peace both at home and with its neighbours.

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