Shared Democratic Society in Israel
We as a Jewish people have a responsibility to all citizens of Israel. We have been living as a minority throughout the ages, and we know what it is to live as a minority. Now we are tested: we are the majority. Are we providing a standard of living based on the Jewish values we preached, believed in and talked about when we were the minority? I do not believe so.
We don’t always live up to our responsibility. I can give so many examples: the investment we put in the education of an Arab child compared to the investment in a Jewish child or the funding of religious institutions of Muslims and Christians compared to the religious institutions of Jews. This is something we should be sensitive to as Jews, especially because the Arab minority in this country is not a stranger in the land.
In the Torah we read 36 times to be sensitive to the other. This is what we are trying to do. We work with Arab citizens of Israel, the ultra-Orthodox, secular and traditional Jews as well as with academics, community leaders and forty Arab and Jewish members of Parliament.
We have dialogue, where we all discuss issues of principle and we also try to find a way — through what we call a deliberative dialogue — of how we can live with our differences.
Recognizing that the conflict between the many societies in Israel poses one of the major obstacles to maintaining a shared society and healthy democracy, Rabbi Melchior founded the Citizens' Accord Forum.