Jewish Commitment to the Arab Minority in the State of Israel

Participants: Yoske Achituv OBM, Ella Belfer, Sylvia Barack Fishman, Yotam Benziman, Michael Boyden, Marshall J. Breger, Benjamin Brown, Hasia Diner, David Ellenson, Rachel Elior, Reuven Firestone, Yochi Fischer, David M. Gordis, Yosef Gorny, Nathaniel Helfgot, Moshe Hellinger, Menachem Katz, Suzanne Last Stone, Binyamin Lau, Asher Maoz, Yehudah Mirsky, Alan Mittelman, Arye Naor, Chaim Navon, Michael Zvi Nehorai, Ariel Picard, Shalom Ratzabi, Avinoam Rosenak, Naftali Rothenberg, Dafna Schreiber, Leah Shakdiel, Ricky Shapira, Steve Shapira, Moshe Shefter, Gidi Shimoni, Ari Smadja, Ruth Sohn, Moshe Sokolow, Aviad Stollman, Yohanan Tsoref, Gordon Tucker, Yaron Unger, Shaul Vieder, Chaim I. Waxman, Debbie Weisman, Michael Wygoda, Shmuel Wygoda, Yair Zaban, Gili Zivan

Project directorDr. Aviad Hacohen
Years of Activity: 2006-2012
With the support of the UJA-Federation, New York
This project aims to study and clarify the attitude toward Arab citizens of Israel, in light of classic Jewish sources and new Zionist thought, as a Jewish ethical issue. It also aims to anchor Jewish commitment toward Arab citizens of Israel in the Jewish sources of all historical periods and Zionist sources, and to link the Jewish discourse with the universal democratic discourse.
In the project’s first stage a sourcebook of about 300 pages was prepared, with a representative diversity of opinions and positions on the topic. The book presents an extremely broad spectrum of texts on the topic, from the Bible and talmudic sages through Zionist thinkers and rulings by the Supreme Court of Israel. In the second stage, seminars were held in Israel and abroad, in which the sources were examined critically and their historical, cultural, geographical, and sociological contexts were analyzed. The aim was to construct as inclusive and variegated a picture as possible and to ensure a true discourse and clarification of the issues.
The seminars yielded a great deal of material that can anchor Jewish commitment to Arab citizens of Israel in Jewish and Zionist sources. This material has been arranged in 14 study sets, to serve as a tool for the formal and informal education system, in adult education, in rabbi’s sermons, and in talks by leaders, with the aim of disseminating the value of the majority’s commitment toward the minority.