Looking Back at Givat Haviva's
Fourth Annual Shared Society
Executive Director, Yaniv Sagee's Welcoming Address 
at Givat Haviva's Shared Society Conference

"A week ago, for a moment, it seemed like a ray of light pierced the darkness. The Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition spoke together about a historic opportunity for peace that would justify a partnership between them. By the next day it was clear that the light was from the engine of the train of war and hate... and we got a right wing nationalist government. In the choice between peace and war, between democracy and ethnocracy, in the choice between a politics of fear and a politics of hope, again and again my beloved country chooses the slippery slope that inevitably leads to ruin.

But we have not gathered here today for the sake of anger and wailing. We have gathered here to strengthen the construction, the partnership, the hope, the true light and not the false. We have gathered together because we are connected partners in a society which is marching toward that slippery slope, but we are also working to prevent the crash by creating an alternative. 

2,500 years ago, the great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, "When a group of people are marching downhill, the last one is the highest." And we truly are heading downhill, but we are the last, who are in the highest place, which demands responsibility, a clear strategy, precise implementation, belief in our way, and love. Yes, love.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." While we in Israel speak with contempt of "lovers of Arabs", or of those who want to create partnership with "the Zoabis". 

And I say -- they who speak of Arabs flocking to the polls, and they who are not ready to live in partnership with the Arab citizens of Israel , and they who see love of Arabs as mistaken or a shortcoming -- they are the ones who endanger our future, the future of our shared country, Israel. 

And I have a small confession -- I am a lover of Arabs."

- Yaniv Sagee
Executive Director
The Center for Shared Society at Givat Haviva

President of the United States, Barack Obama 
Sent His Greetings to our Conference

Photos from our Conference

This year's Conference continued the tradition of a leading event on the topic of Shared Society in Israel, this time with the theme "Implications of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Common Citizenship for Jews and Arabs in Israel." The Conference examined aspects of politics, media and culture for a shared society.

More than 300 people attended the Conference, a diverse audience of Arabs and Jews, heads of municipalities, leaders and members of civil society organizations, people from the private sector -- all citizens and friends who care about creatin
g a unified, shared society here in Israel.

Anwar Abu Aisha, Palestinian Minister of Culture, delivering a greeting from Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. 

A n interview with MK Yitzhak Herzog, 
Head of the Labor Party.

Beautiful musical interlude by Hiba Bathish 
and musicians.

Hostile Media Panel -- exploring Jewish-Arab relations in Israeli media.  Featuring Ghada Zoabi,  Yehuda Shochat, Dr. Noa Lavie
 and Sami Abed El Hamid. 

Mohammad Darawshe welcoming the 
attendees of Givat Haviva's Conference.

Friends of Givat Haviva came from the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France to attend the Conference and spend four days getting firsthand insight into our programs and plans for the future.

About this Year's Shared Society Conference

The theme of the Givat Haviva Shared Society Conference this year was " Implications of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict on Common Citizenship for Jews and Arabs in Israel ". The Conference included panel discussions on the implications of the conflict on common citizenship in the political, media and cultural arenas of common citizenship and shared society.

Among this year's Conference participants:

Gila Gamliel, Minister for Social Equality
Mohammed Barake, Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel
Mark Gallagher, Head of Political Section, European Union Delegation to Israel
MK Yitzhak Herzog, Head of the Labor Party
MK Ayman Odeh, Head of the Joint List
MK Ofer Shelach, Yesh Atid

Official greetings were delivered from President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin and President of the United States, Barack Obama. Keynote speakers included Mark Gallagher, Head of the Political Section of the European Union Delegation to Israel; Mohammed Barake, Chairman of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel; and MK's Yitzhak Herzog, Ayman Odeh, Ayood Kara, and Ofer Shelach. Anwar Abu Aisha, Palestinian Minister of Culture delivered greetings from the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The Givat Haviva Annual Shared Society Conference is widely recognized as the primary convening event for all actors working to build a shared society in Israel. The first three conferences (2013 - 2015) brought together hundreds of citizens and leaders from diverse sectors of Jewish and Arab society, including civil society, government, private sector, academia and the donor community. These events provided a much-needed platform for discussions, experience sharing and collaborative strategy development towards building a shared society in Israel.

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