How does a day in future, tolerant, open Jerusalem look?
According to Yair, in his dreams (which, he claims, will come true in about 2-3 years), Jerusalemites will speak to each other in the ‘other’s’ language. An East Jerusalemite Arab woman will meet a West Jerusalemite Jewish man, she will speak in Hebrew and he in Arabic. Jerusalemites find ways to meet in the middle and communicate with one another.
Shmuel Drilman, another participant, said:
I explained the difference between a melting pot philosophy and a multicultural philosophy that encourages mutual tolerance and respect for others’ world view. It is difficult for me to respect ‘values of tolerance’ that call for wars against Haredim living in Kiryat Hayovel, events adapted to the religious community, or even the sale of materials that call people to ‘return to the fold’ in local supermarkets. I believe that this is not multi-culturalism, it is culture war. On the other hand, it is difficult to deny that the challenge for the Haredi population in establishing a multi-cultural space as required for life in the 21st century is greater – are we really able to come to terms with secular people living in Haredi neighborhoods? Civil marriages? Breaking of the Sabbath with our tax money? Somehow I was left with the feeling that the challenge of Tolerant Jerusalem is far from being overcome.
Yair and Shmuel were part of a panel entitled, “Jerusalem – Tolerant City” that we organized, together with the Ahuzat Beit Hakerem sheltered housing residence. Some 300 residents listened intently and asked panelists difficult questions.
Moderated by our own director, Dr. Hagai Agmon-Snir, panelists included:
- Inbal Cohen, Director of Yeru-Shalem: The Coalition for a Pluralist Jerusalem
- Shmuel Drilman, one of the Founders of “Haredim for Peace” and a social activist in the area of religious-secular relations.
- Yair Kochav, Founder and Director of the Tahrir Middle Eastern Culture Bar
- Yakir Englander, Director of Kids4Peace International
- Ahmed Maswadeh, one of the founders of Jerusalem Art
- Michal Shilor, JICC Coordinator for Grassroots Campaign for Tolerance and founder of 0202 – A View from East Jerusalem (Hebrew and English), 0202-A View from Haredi Jerusalem
Here’s the Facebook post in Hebrew on the Jerusalem Tolerance Facebook page, about the entire panel:
Here’s what Shmuel had to say about the panel in his Hebrew Facebook post: