Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ayman Odeh, New Head of Israel's Arab party, wants to be Israel's MLK

This interview in today's TOI is a must read. In it, Ayman Odeh, head of the largest Arab Party in Israel's history, The Joint List, makes a plea to Israel's Jewish majority to work towards helping Israel's Arab citizens attain genuine civil and economic equality, as well as some small modicum of a national symbol that while Jewish, could also be embraced by Israel's 20% Arab minority as a source of pride.

The part where he quotes the Shaul Tchernekovsky poem actually had me tearing up a bit - Israeli Jews ignore Odeh and his message at our own expense. He is the ultimate litmus test of whether Israel is genuinely capable of being moral to the 'stranger in our mist' as the Torah so often beseeches us. Or are we too scarred by our own recent history to take up his call for true equality of opportunity and rights here.

Time will tell - I am optimistic we will react positively to Odeh's message as we claim we've been waiting for an Arab leader like this in Israel for a long time.

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