Rabbi Seeks to Find "Common Ground, Shared Narrative" for Israelis

September 19, 2004

Source: Cleveland Jewish News


On September 19, 2004 the Cleveland Jewish News reported, "Rabbi Michael Melchior[,]... Israel's energetic Knesset member and deputy minister for foreign affairs[,]... has been a vocal advocate for pluralism and religious tolerance, establishing many programs aimed at narrowing the gaps in Israeli society. He is currently spearheading a Jewish-Muslim dialogue among leading religious figures throughout the Middle East, and he chairs a caucus of Jews and Arabs living in Israel... 'The treatment of Israeli Arabs hasn't been right under any government,' he concedes, noting their poorer living conditions and lower levels of income and education. Despite these disparities, he says a recent survey of both populations showed 'the regard of one for the other was better than we thought.' However, Israel needs to do better, he asserts, in order to survive and thrive... What the country needs, he believes, is 'a common ground, a shared narrative.' To foster this, Melchior, who is religious and the leader of a Jerusalem congregation, established study centers for Yom Kippur. These have begun attracting secular Israelis and will be expanded to 180 locations this year."