With the recent divestment proposal bringing tension onto the University of Wisconsin campus, Badgers for Israel hosted speaker Yaniv Sagee from the Shared Society of Israel to discuss ways Jews and Arabs can come together for peace.
Sagee, the executive director for Givat Haviva, a non-profit educational institute, also spoke about the Israel partnerships which are growing between the Jewish and Arab people at the University of Wisconsin Hillel Foundation Thursday evening.
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Givat Haviva focuses on Zionism, Socialism and brotherhood of the people, Sagee said. If people do not connect with one another, Israel will not find democracy within the country.
“People who will be the leaders for peace are coming from these programs,” Sagee said.
Givat Haviva highlights shared education, community and municipal partnerships to foster good relations between one another, Sagee said.
Sagee said most Arabs of the younger generation are not able to communicate with Jewish Israelis because they are not taught spoken Hebrew in school. This places hardship on higher education, socializing and finding employment.
“[Givat Haviva] is creating a platform for peace to flourish,” Sagee said.
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The organization pioneered the creation of a partnership for Jewish and Arab relations, Sagee said.
Sagee said the idea of a shared society recently became Givat Haviva’s focus, which emphasizes the creation of partnerships and fosters shared interests between communities to produce sustainable relations between Jews and Arabs.
Noa Rose, a UW freshman, said it is important to clarify misconceptions and bring awareness to the issue.
“There is opportunity for growth and improvement, specifically regarding this issue and with recent events,” Rose said.
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Givat Haviva aims to bring together the Arab and Jewish communities through joint-learning together and educational programs, Sagee said.
Sagee said the Israeli government has shown interest in the shared society between both parties, despite the differences between the Arab and Israeli views on the political spectrum.
It is important to let people know there are ways to combat misunderstandings, lack of information and pure hatred through equal opportunity for both parties, Rose said.
“[Givat Haviva] should be influencing people [in Madison] about connections between diversities and create the ability to support the kind of Israel that is fostering collaboration and partnership — not the Israel that stands against each other,” Sagee said.