Commit To Coexistence
Tue, 08/28/2012

The Alan B. Slifka Foundation commends The Jewish Week’s editorial urging Israel to take its commitment to coexistence seriously (“Making Coexistence A Priority,” Aug. 24).

The greatest respect Israel can show Jamal Julani, the victim of the attack, and his humanity, is to take this moment to reflect on the circumstances that made this tragedy possible, and decide to make it an impossibility going forward. The only way to effect this change is by a commitment to coexistence and shared society policies and programs — by deepening the mutual respect and understanding of Israel’s diverse population, and by appreciating the beauty, richness and benefits of that diversity.

Coexistence efforts will continue to have marginal success until Israel’s government stands behind coexistence as an imperative (not a choice), displaying unwavering support and implementing laws that incorporate shared societies principles. But these facts ought to change how Israel applies itself, not tell it to give up.

Riva Ariella Ritvo- Slifka, President

Alan B. Slifka Foundation

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One must ask:

How many times did the Slifka Foundation write to the Jewish Week condemning the

Arabs virtual daily vandalism at the Mount of Olives, the oldest Jewish cemetery

in the world, and condemning the at least weekly Arab attacks on Jewish visitors

to the cemetery?

How many times did the Slifka Foundation protest when PA President Mahmoud Abbas

and other senior PA officials claim there was no Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (or

indeed Jewish connection to Jerusalem).

Did the Slifka Foundation condemn the PA when the PA's top official Islamic cleric

called for the death of all Jews at a meeting of Fatah, the Arab terrorist

organization headed by PA President Abbas, or when his speech was rebroadcast on

official PA TV.

Would the Slifka Foundation have called upon the Jews to practice co-existence

when the Arabs tried to destroy the Jewish presence in Palestine in 1947, or the

embryonic state in 1948?

One must ask, did not the Jews of Europe practice some benighted form of

co-existence during the Holocaust, only to be led to the gas chambers?

The bizarre notion that somehow the victims of the Holocaust were terrorized because they were practicing coexistence points to a deep and irrational fear of otherness in this comment. Of course injustice and antisemitism have been responsible for many crimes committed against Israelis. That doesn't mean Israelis ought to decide to allow hatred to enter into the way they treat other human beings. If you frankly believe there is no human condition but one of hatred, competition, struggle, and insular defense of people whose goals are immediately and evidently compatible with your own, then perhaps coexistence is an impossibility. But if you love your children, and love your childrens' friends, and love your own friends, and you realize that this love is an integral nuerochemical facet of the human reality--a beautiful one, an astounding one, in fact, it is not so hard to imagine extending that love, fueling it, realizing it nurtures itself in those very different from you as easily as it does in those with whom you have much in common. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

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