This month was a very significant one for Givat Haviva. On the one hand, we fought against the Nation State Law that threatens to destroy the entire fabric of relations between Arabs and Jews in Israel. On the other hand, we succeeded in realizing two major accomplishments in the international arena and in the educational arena. This month we were recognized as a consultative organization of the United Nations in the area of conflict resolution, education for a shared life and a common society amidst cultural differences.
I grew up in a home that was Jewish, Zionist and Israeli. To this day, I teach and believe in the values on which I grew up, in a movement that championed Zionism, socialism and the brotherhood of nations. I have always believed that the Jewish people have a full right to a national home for which the State of Israel was established. In the same breath, I always believed that my Israel is a democratic state that upholds the vision of its founders: “The State of Israel will be open to Jewish immigration and to the ingathering of the exiles, will promote the development of the land for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the foundations of liberty, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel; will maintain complete social and political equality of rights for all its citizens irrespective of religion, race or sex; will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture” (from the Declaration of Independence).
As schoolchildren are beginning their summer vacation, Givat Haviva’s campus stands out as a unique and wonderful space for shared society in Israel. I write these lines from my office, to the sounds of the wonderful Arabic singing of Fairuz, which is being played for Arab children and youth in a summer camp in the shade of the pine trees on our campus.
In our country, there is widespread use of politics of identities to create a policy of “divide and rule”. Every day we experience the poisonous fruits of the effort to preserve the existing situation by spreading fear and hatred of the other, by drawing the shutters and closing the hearts toward the reality, needs, desires and hopes of the “other”. We at Givat Haviva believe in equality and partnership as a basis for “life itself,” here in our common country, Israel.