Tomer, 28, an Israeli parliamentary journalist living in Jerusalem, has been a member of OneVoice since 2005. As a freshmen in college, Avital became compelled to join OneVoice after attending a recruitment meeting with his best friend and his sister, a former OneVoice Israel youth leader herself. Tomer says that his sister has since become involved with numerous other organizations that are more left wing, while his brother is “indifferent and [politically] uninvolved, but has right wing opinions.” Though the youngest of the bunch, Tomer asserts his centrist views. He feels that moderation and dialogue are the best ways to reach a peace agreement.
“My family is like a microcosm of the entire [Israeli] society. It’s funny because most families have the same opinion [as one another],” posited Tomer. When asked how they all formed their views, Tomer said, “If I can realize why we all have different opinions, then I would be able to bring peace more easily.”
Occasionally, when the Avital family sits down to a meal, there is an explosion. With such a spectrum of political perceptions at one table, this comes as no surprise. “My mother is always unhappy because everyone thinks differently. She just wants us to eat!”
Surprisingly, the parents who reared these three vastly different children don’t act, politically speaking. They wait for news, believing the government does the best that it can. Tomer describes them as “old-fashioned” citizens, who feel that “you shouldn’t take to the streets.”
The Avital family is also filled with love and acceptance. When asked what he thinks of his sister’s chosen profession as a media and advocacy coordinator for Gisha, a legal center for freedom of movement for Palestinians, Tomer’s brother, himself a successful young entrepreneur in software engineering, replied that she should do what makes her feel good.
Tomer finds that being in the middle of the Avital family political spectrum and working with OneVoice is more constructive and fits his personality well. He is a patriot, who believes that the Israeli government can do better and should move the peace process ahead more quickly. He hopes to spread the message of OneVoice and make positive changes in his society.
“I choose to work with OneVoice because it allows moderates to connect,” said Tomer, after a long, but successful OneVoice meeting. “It provides a way for my peers and me to nonviolently pressure our governments to negotiate. I also enjoy the creative activities of OneVoice Israel. Each week there is a new meeting, activity or stunt, and we involve Knesset members, celebrities and media. This keeps it very exciting.”
Tomer will join his Palestinian counterpart, Bashar Shweiki, in leading an International Education Program tour of Northern California communities and college campuses from March 9 – 16.