Ghadir Hani, an activist with NIF grantees Omdim Beyahad-Naqef Ma’an (Standing Together) and Women Wage Peace recently addressed one of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tel Aviv. She said, “I am here, Ghadir Hani, standing in front of you and my heart is heavy and aching. I came to talk about democracy and equality, about the common struggle of the entire public for rights and separation of authorities, but the things that I wrote the day before yesterday already seem like a speech to a different reality.
I was born in Akko. I grew up in a city shared by Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze, natives of the city and new immigrants. Already as a child I understood that more than religions and nationality, there are people, with advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses. I chose to live for nearly 20 years in the Negev and to be active for a shared life and peace there too.
Violence puts us to the most difficult test. Jews and Arabs must join forces and will we continue to join hands, and will we call out with all our strength against violence, and will we continue to fight for peace, or will we fall again into the abyss of division.
When the protests for democracy began it was clear to me that I had to participate. I tried to convince many of my friends in Arab towns to join. If there’s a question I’ve been asked more than anyone else, it’s the question: Is the democracy that we’re fighting for only for Jews? Do Jews see the values of justice and equality also towards other minorities living in the Holy Land?
I’m fighting for the future of the land of all of us — Arabs and Jews, Muslims and Christians.”