Shared Society is Under Attack - a letter from CEO Dani Elazar
I am writing to share an important development that we have been grappling with in recent weeks – as a country and as Hand in Hand. Both in the Knesset and in the streets there are attempts to divide Jews and Arabs and to entrench discrimination against Arabs and Arab culture.
Early this morning the Israeli Knesset passed the Nation-State bill, which is now a Basic Law with constitutional validity. It provides grounds for discrimination against Arab and other non-Jewish communities. It also demotes Arabic as an official language that has been equal in status to Hebrew since the foundation of the State and an indicator of democracy and equality. Israeli President Rivlin firmly condemned the bill, asking: “Are we willing to support discrimination and exclusion of people based on their ethnic origin?”
The answer to this, we see, is yes.
Both on the national and local levels, we are seeing racism and discrimination being entrenched in Israeli society. Hand in Hand will not give in. The only future for Israel’s Jews and Arabs, and Israelis and Palestinians, is to learn to live together in this place we all call home.
For Hand in Hand the path of action is clear: welcome thousands of new Jewish and Arab families who want to join our thriving communities — where nobody is excluded from our classrooms; where we learn each other’s languages equally; and where our adult communities work together daily to create mutual understanding and equality.
This is why we want to be able to say yes to to every child who applies to join a Hand in Hand school, and to every new group who turns to us. With thousands of Arab and Jewish citizens coming together every day, we prove there is another pathway for Israeli society.
To all of you who believe that Israel should be a safe and welcoming place for all citizens – we need you with us, now more than ever. Please make a donation to support our work enrolling new children in our schools and our efforts to build shared communities of Jews and Arabs.
Hand in Hand CEO