Lital Shemesh is a dynamic young Israeli journalist who lives in Tel Aviv. For years she reported on the political situation in Israel, and advocated dialogue with the Palestinians to promote a solution to the conflict. One day, she participated in just such a dialogue, and her eyes were opened to a new truth.
At the end of a three-day seminar in Turkey in which young Israeli and Palestinian future leaders met, Lital was feeling comfortable with her Arab counterparts. They found common ground and were getting along well. Then the core issues were brought up for discussion.
For the full interview download Israel National Radio's Life Lessons by clicking here.
Lital's first shock was when she was told not to use the word "terrorist."
"It's offensive," her new Palestinian friends told her.
"What do you call a person who straps a suicide belt on his waist and goes into a crowded shopping mall in Tel Aviv, intending to kill innocent Israeli civilians?" she asked bluntly. The conversation that ensued was a shocking red flag for her.
Her second shock was that none of the participating young Palestinian future leaders spoke of a two-state solution.
"We believe that you have a right to sovereignty and your own state," the Israelis said. "Let's discuss what the borders of that state should be."
There was no answer. The Palestinian participants talked about one state only, Palestine, which included Yaffo, Acre, Haifa, and yes, Tel Aviv.
Some of the Israeli participants were associated with the far-left Meretz or Labor parties, and the conference gave them new insight into the peace process. "The conference was sponsored by left-wing organizations," Lital explained. "and they didn't expect to see such results."
When asked if she and others feel comfortable writing and talking about their new views, Lital says yes. She is also involved in StandWithUs, a non-profit organization which works to combat anti-Semitism and spread the truth. In fact Lital just returned from a two-week speaking tour on campuses in midwestern United States.
Tune in to hear the whole interview by clicking here.
Judy Simon is the tourism coordinator of the Beit El municipality and host of Israel National Radio's Life Lessons. The weekly podcast explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The program airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For mp3 archives click here.
Lital's story was also covered by Arutz Sheva blogger Baruch Gordon in his blog entry here.