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
The Center for Shared Society at Givat Haviva