Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

I would give up at this point… if I didn’t know that the initiatives that TalkMatters supports continue to thrive.  And if I didn’t know that Israeli Palestinian Arabs and Israelis Jewish citizens continue to meet through their shared interest in hi-tech, music, ecology, education, religion, etc. But I do know.

I have met many of the inspirational people who carry on.  The people who have built up trust over many years.  The people who refuse to accept that the moderate Palestinians and Israelis are their enemy.  The people who enable others to meet, talk, listen and hear each other’s narrative. 

The war in Gaza and in Israel is relentless and the knock-on effect of antisemitism and antimuslim hatred is pervasive.  We cannot change things at the top but hard as it is, we cannot give in.  Our response is clear:  we must continue to support the people on the ground.  We must continue to believe that building up trust between human beings is an important part of combatting fear, hatred and violence.  We must continue to believe that sowing the seeds of co-operation is the way towards a better world.  

So we carry on and today we bring you another in our series of one minute video clips – Voices of Hope and Fear.   Laurie Kaye is former Chairman and UK Ambassador of the Abraham Initiative    

Laurie Kaye is former Chairman and UK Ambassador of the Abraham Initiative

Laurie Kaye – UK Ambassador Abraham Initiatives

Working with colleagues in Israel, Laurie founded the Abraham Initiatives UK in 2006 and was its Chair until 2016. Since then, he has been an Ambassador for the organisation, working to raise awareness and donations in the UK to support the Abraham Initiatives’ work to build a shared society between Israel’s Palestinian Arab and Jewish citizens. Laurie believes that this work is now more vitally important than ever.

About the Abraham Initiatives

The Abraham Initiatives run programmes in several focus areas, including – ‘Education for a Shared Society’ – building bridges between Israel’s Jewish & Arab education systems & students, ‘Building Safe Communities’ – helping to build trust between communities and to tackle crime and violence in Arab society, ‘Media in a Shared Space’ – increasing the visibility of Arab society in Israel’s media and  ‘Leadership for Shared Society’ – improving representation of Arab society in policy design and promoting a shared society as a key tenet of Israeli policy.  

The latest news from the Abraham Initiatives

This year, the holy month of Ramadan began on Sunday, March 10. For Muslims around the world and in Israel, it is a time of profound reflection and prayer. For many years, The Abraham Initiatives has taken the opportunity to acquaint Jewish Israelis with the traditions and practices of Ramadan—both as a way to prevent practical misunderstandings and to advance shared society through a greater understanding of the other.
During Ramadan, hundreds of thousands of worshippers attend prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. The Al-Aqsa Mosque has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Ramadan is unfortunately an opportunity for extremists to exploit divisions and encourage violence. The current war in Gaza makes the environment especially fraught. 
Last month, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir proposed draconian restrictions on the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Against the advice of virtually the entire Israeli security establishment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accept this plan. Instead of working to ensure the religious freedom of all Israeli citizens, the government was set on sparking a conflict with over one million of its Muslim citizens.
The Abraham Initiatives strongly denounced the proposal when it was made, and we issued a policy paper making the case for religious freedom and tolerance. We also sent a public letter to the police commissioner requesting that clear and consistent guidance be given to Muslims and Palestinian citizens of Israel regarding their right to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque so as to avoid conflict. Our efforts received a good deal of coverage in the Hebrew-language press. 
While much remains uncertain, recent reports in the media suggest that Ben-Gvir’s proposal will not be adopted and that he will be excluded from decision making in this area. This is a potentially positive sign, but we cannot take it for granted. Our staff in Israel will closely monitor the government’s actions throughout Ramadan and take appropriate steps when necessary to protect the rights of Muslim citizens. 
The last five months have been some of the most traumatizing for all Israelis. Despite the pain and suffering experienced by almost everyone, there have been no major outbreaks of violence between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel as there were in May 2021. This is a testament to the work of many dedicated professionals, elected officials, and activists—some of whose names you undoubtedly know.
The Abraham Initiatives is determined to make sure that shared society prevails—for whatever happens, Jews and Palestinian will continue to live together in Israel.

The Abraham Initiatives is one of the TalkMatters initiatives and is featured in our directory.  If you would like to donate in support of their work, you can donate to them from the UK by using the donate page on their website.

About TalkMatters Voices – Hopes & Fears series

We are expanding our Voices of TalkMatters series to include you – our supporters.  Whenever there are spikes of conflict in Israel and Palestine, the incidents of antisemitism and anti-muslim hatred go up – and – in the aftermath of the Hamas terror attack and the subsequent ongoing devastation in Gaza the figures have multiplied.  We need a space to talk. We aim to provide the right environment for you to connect to other TalkMatters‘ supporters by sharing your hopes and fears.  

Help the TalkMatters community as we embark on this journey of hope and resilience – see the orange box below for some guidelines to make the perfect 1 minute video clip on your phone.

With hope,

Jenny and the TalkMatters team

Get details on how to send a video

    Watch other videos from the Hopes & Fears series of clips