Givat Haviva and the Jewish-Arab Center for Peace are deeply concerned about the recent rapid deterioration in Jewish-Arab relations, which threatens the entire Israeli society. The dangerous combination of long term institutional discrimination, as it was described in the conclusions of the Or Committee, with economic distress, rising racism, a sense of political persecution, the weakness in the treatment of the "Price Tag" terrorists, the threat to the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, and the feeling that there is a separate law for Arabs (as it was manifest in the latest incident in Kafr Kanna) – all contribute to the present situation where any incident could ignite the already volatile field.
We support the local leadership of the Arab society and our partners among the civil society organizations that have been making great efforts to calm down emotions and minimize the damage to the fabric of shared life in Israel. But this is not enough!
We call upon the Israeli senior leadership, under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, to engage in a different discourse regarding the Arab citizens of Israel, to clearly condemn the inciting calls for exclusion, and to lead a move for making Israeli citizenship more significant for these citizens through a consistent and continuous dialogue with the local Arab leadership, providing a long-term response to the needs of the Arab society.
We call upon his Excellency the President of Israel, in his honorable position and with his widely accepted personality, to invite the members of the Government of Israel and the heads of the Arab population (the High Follow-Up Committee) to gather for an emergency joint meeting in an attempt to open channels of communication and prevent a full decline of the situation.
We call upon the Minister of Internal Security: Take back your inciting words that might damage the proper rule of law in Israel.
We call upon the Chief of Police to clarify the instructions regarding the equal treatment that the police must show all citizens and residents of Israel, regardless of nationality, gender or race, and to suspend, until the end of the investigation, the team that was involved in the incident in Kafr Kanna.
We call upon the Minister of Education: It is time to act upon your promises and immediately adopt a national program for education towards shared living, based on the recommendations that were submitted to the Ministry in 2009. Children in Israel who are educated in a separate system and are exposed to the media that emphasizes mostly the conflict between various parts of Israeli society, grow up to become racist. In order to avoid it there should be a significantly increased investment in Jewish-Arab encounters, to provide students with more of them, not less, as has been the case.
We call for expanding partnerships between neighbors, creating extensive mechanisms of communal partnerships based on common interests, making connections between neighboring Jewish and Arab communities. The successful model created and implemented by Givat Haviva proves that this can be the basis for building a shared society in Israel, on both the regional and the national levels.
We call upon anyone who is as concerned as we are, not to stand aloof but to join hands in our struggle to maintain the democratic and humane character of the shared society in Israel.
Yaniv Sagee Riad Kabha Mohammad Darawshe
Executive Director The Jewish-Arab Director of Planning, Equality
Givat Haviva Center for Peace and Shared Society, Givat Haviva