Even and Especially Now, We Stand Together
Across Israel we are experiencing difficult and frightening days. Our sense of personal security has been undermined, as our streets fill with violence, racism, hatred, and fear. There is an atmosphere of war, exacting both physical and mental costs.
We at Hand in Hand are also contending with difficult questions arising from the events of the past few days: questions about identity and belonging in the place where we grew up and where we live, and about how to continue operating as an Arab-Jewish community that is accepting, respectful, and committed to equality.
These are precisely the times when the solidarity, understanding, and cooperation that we have built strengthens us and our families. As the largest Arab-Jewish network in Israel we have a crucial role now. In the face of violence, racism and militarism, we present a different model for Jewish-Arab relations in this country.
Several days this week, Hand in Hand helped gather thousands in Jerusalem, the Galilee, Jaffa, Kfar Saba, Haifa, and Kafr Qasim to protest the escalating violence and broadcast a clear message: “Safety and equality for all.”
We are waiting desperately for calm, but restoring calm is not, and must not be, our only goal. The default injustices of daily Jewish-Arab relations, and the inequality between the two nations will once again become reality if society does not commit to achieving equality and justice. The thousands of Hand in Hand community members throughout Israel are proof that Arabs and Jews can live in equality and partnership. Realizing this possibility all across Israel is our end goal, and we are working toward it now more than ever.
We wish Eid Mubarak to all our Muslim friends, with the hope that you are able to celebrate with dignity and freedom. To our Jewish friends we wish a meaningful and joyful Shavuot, and hope that the message of Ruth to embrace the other overcomes the winds of destruction raging around us.
May we all be blessed with equality and peace in our shared country.