Human rights - not just for the radical left

Eytan Meir,

OpEds Eytan Meir
Eytan Meir

The 4th annual Zionist Conference for Human Rights organized by the Im Tirtzu movement took place last night (Sunday) in Tel-Aviv. The focus of this year’s conference was on the integration of minorities into Israeli society. 

According to Im Tirtzu, there is an inextricable connection between human rights and Zionism, and the conference provides an answer to those who cynically use the concept of human rights to spearhead their campaign of delegitimization against Israel.

The conference began with remarks from Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara, a Druze-Israeli politician from the Likud: “Israel has become the backbone of all the minorities in the region, including the sane Arab majority. I am excited to see that the percent of Druze enlisting in the IDF remains as high as ever, including those who continue to become officers and who even continue to the highest echelons of the IDF. We feel that we belong, and are therefore proud to serve and give our share to the most moral army in the region, which defends us all.”

Father Gabriel Naddaf, spiritual leader of the Israeli Christians Recruitment Forum, also spoke: “Israel is a place where all its citizens enjoy equal rights and can live in peace and harmony. We are proud to live in this country. This is our home and we need to help protect it.”

The central part of the conference was the screening of “My Home,” an award-winning documentary by director Igal Hecht that explores the strong and positive connection of the “silent Arab minority” to the State of Israel.

Following the screening, there was a discussion panel featuring two of the film’s stars, Mohammad Kabiya and Jonathan Elkhoury, and notable human rights activist Kay Wilson. The panelists answered questions submitted by members of the 200-strong audience.

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg noted: “In the State of Israel there is more human rights than in all of the countries in the Middle East and Africa combined – including some European countries as well. Together with the Israeli minorities who serve in the IDF and the security forces, it is our obligation to stand up and defend this moral, humane and just country.”

Peleg emphasized: “The State of Israel is a gushing fountain of life and peace within a desert of blood, fire, and smoke. Against those who are openly seeking to harm the State of Israel, we need to come together and unite."

At the conclusion of the conference, Yaron Rosenthal was announced as the winner of the Im Tirtzu Human Rights Award. Yaron is the Director of the Kfar Etzion Field School and a prominent activist in Gush Etzion, working to strengthen ties between the Arab and Jewish residents of the region.

Eytan Meir is in charge of  Development & External Relations at Im Tirtzu - Building the Zionist Dream