Even In Moments of Violence

27 July 2017

The past two weeks have been tense for all of us who care about Israel.

A series of incidents — beginning with the terrorist attack that killed two Israeli police officers outside the Temple Mount — threatened to upset the political balance and drive Israelis and Palestinians back to days when bloodshed was the daily news.

Indeed, as of this writing, none of us can be sure that the relative calm that we have become accustomed to has returned. The political situation remains unstable. Nerves are still raw. There are still those who are looking to create more facts on the ground or stoke more violence.

I can tell you from my conversations with our colleagues and partners on the ground that Israelis are experiencing this fear every bit as much as you and I. At the same time, they are not letting their fear stand in the way of continuing to press for our values.

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 two weeks 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 next week’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 neighbors.