New York, November 19, 2010—OneVoice youth leaders and staff joined prominent Rabbi Ken Chasen and Rabbi Rachel Timoner in bringing OneVoice’s International Education Program (IEP) to close at the Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, on Friday.
The event marked the final stop of the fifth and final IEP tour of the year. Eliran Eyal and Mohammad Asideh addressed the congregation of approximately 250 people, and shared their personal stories while IEP Director China Sajadian and IEP Manager Rachel Steinberg discussed the OneVoice Imagine 2018 campaign.
“As a movement we don’t prescribe policy,” said Steinberg. “We allow average Israelis and Palestinians to build consensus around final status issues. They can discuss realistic compromises in order to bring about a two-state solution.”
Inspired by the movement’s ability to include the narratives on both sides, the congregation, in planning its annual Israel Matters program trip, announced that this year it would include a visit to the West Bank as well as Israel. They also hope to meet with and visit OneVoice youth leaders from both OneVoice Israel and OneVoice Palestine.
Rabbi Timoner expressed a desire to more closely collaborate with OneVoice and asked Mohammad and Eliran what her congregation, or the community as a whole, could do to help propel the two-state solution, and keep Israel as a homeland for Jews living both in and out of the country. Eliran stressed how important is for people to realize that both Israelis and Palestinians ultimately share the same goal.
“There is a need for people to pressure leaders to return to negotiations,” he said.
During the evening’s Shabbat service, Rabbi Chasen discussed the importance of hearing about the conflict from those in the region and learning about what happens on the ground.
Rabbi Chasen has met with top Palestinian officials in the past including current Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. He described Prime Minister Fayyad’s state building process as “astounding.”
This meeting has inspired further collaboration between OneVoice and members of the congregation. This congregation will promote dialogue and seek to bring about change within various communities.
Earlier in the week Mohammad and Eliran also met with students at UCLA, Occidental College, Santa Monica College, and the University of California at Irvine, as they continued to promote communication amongst polarized groups.
Imagine 2018 is a multiplatform campaign that depicts visions by Israelis and Palestinians of 2018 if a peace agreement is signed versus maintaining the status quo or worse.