Past Events

Tuesday, February 20, 7:30pm in Stern Hall

RAMI ZEEDAN, PhD
Visiting Scholar at Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israel Studies at UC Berkeley

This lecture will focus on the development of politics, identity, and leadership among Arabs in Israel. It is presented in light of the historical development and contemporary trends of “integration vs. segregation” of Israeli Arabs in the Israeli political system. Special attention will be given to the different positions and attitudes of Muslims, Druze, and Christians.

Israeli Arabs, also known as Israeli minorities or the ‘Arab Sector,’ are those non-Jewish religious and ethnic communities who found themselves inside the State of Israel after the armistice demarcation lines (the green line) were drawn in the summer of 1949. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel they were known as the ‘South Syria Arabs’ or ‘Palestinian Arabs’ as opposed to ‘Palestinian Jews.’

The roughly 156,000 Arabs, who in 1949 made up 15% of the total population, were granted citizenship. After the 1967 war, some additional 70,000 East Jerusalem Muslims and Christians and 6,500 Druze of the Golan Heights were given permanent residence status, and after these areas were annexed by Israel, they can apply to become citizens. However, only few of them apply to become citizens and from those who apply, the majority are denied.

Today, Israeli minorities number 1,786,000, make up 21% of the country’s total population of 8.7 million, and belong to subgroups of Muslims 84%, mostly Sunni, Christians, 8%, mostly Arabs, and Druze 8%. Most Arabs see themselves as part of the ‘Arabic Culture’, but still cherish their Israeli citizenship, and some refer to themselves as the ’48 Arabs, while others, after the rise of Palestinian nationalism, go by “Israeli Palestinians”.

RAMI ZEEDAN, PH.D. is an interdisciplinary researcher in political science and history. His recent research ranges between urban affairs/local governments in cities, ethnic politics, public opinion, and Israel studies. Since 2014, he has held a two-year fellowship for outstanding post-doctoral research from the Council for Higher Education in Israel, during which he was a Taub-Schusterman Post-Doctoral Fellow at New York University, 2014-2015, and a Fritz Thyssen post-doctoral research fellow with the Zentrum Moderner Orient (Germany), 2015-2016.  Zeedan has also taught at the Open University of Israel, New York University, and at the Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee. His teaching interests include: “Politics and Government in Israel”; “Research Methods in Political Sciences”; and “Introduction to Statistics.” He holds a Ph.D. in Israel Studies from the University of Haifa.


 


ARE YOU READY FOR THE TRUMP-NETANYAHU ERA?

Donald Trump is President, Republicans control the House and Senate.
How will Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the American Jewish community be affected?
How can progressive Jews get ready and take action?

Focus on Settlement Policy and Peace Advocacy in Israel
Settlements and Illegal Outposts in the Trump-Netanyahu Era
Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:30 - 9:00pm
Albers Chapel, 2808 Summit St., Oakland (use the Webster entrance)

with
Debra DeLee, President and CEO, Americans for Peace Now 

Join Debra for a primer on settlements and illegal outposts, and the destabilizing impact of the Trump presidency. How are Israeli government policies and the increasingly radical settler movement driving settlement expansion and entrenchment?  Will Israel’s ideological right use the shift in Washington to open the settlement floodgates and destroy the possibility of a two-state solution? How can progressive American Jews respond?

Event followed by refreshments and informal conversation
Presented by the Temple Sinai Israel Education Committee
Co-sponsored by the Women of Temple Sinai

 




Finding Pathways Forward in the Aftermath of the Gaza War:
Dr. Stanley Wulf Speaks at Sinai

Dr. Stan Wulf came to Temple Sinai in early January 2015 to present his thoughtful view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to over 100 people gathered in Albers Chapel.  Dr. Wulf, who serves on J Street’s National Advisory Council and as a board member for the Molad Center for the Renewal of Israeli Democracy, recently retired as an Ob-Gyn and Chief Medical Technology Officer so he could talk to American Jews about the urgent need for a two state solution.

Dr. Wulf outlined the clashing narratives held by Israelis and Palestinians. He acknowledged each side’s claim to the land and each history of suffering. He noted that the Gaza Wars had produced disturbingly similar stalemates, with increasing casualties and devastation.  He described intensifying frustration and hostility on both sides and predicted the likelihood of more violence.  But having opened with this bleak assessment, Dr. Wulf went on to make an authoritative argument for the possibility of peace.

Using ample humor and statistics, Dr. Wulf explained why he believes Israel needs a two-state solution to the conflict so it can survive as a Jewish and democratic nation.  There are as many Arabs and Palestinians as Jews living in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Arabs and Palestinians will soon be the majority because of their greater population growth rates.  Without change, a minority of Jews will be ruling over a majority of Palestinians, challenging Israel’s status as a democracy.  But if Arabs and Palestinians could vote, Israel’s existence as a Jewish nation would be threatened.

Dr. Wulf went on to explore ways a negotiated settlement could be reached.  He described past negotiated breakthroughs and suggested possible approaches to each of four issues: Borders, Security, Refugees, and Jerusalem.  He admitted that a workable agreement would necessarily please neither side. Rather, both sides will need to agree to a mutually unjust solution.

The two sides have already discussed many elements of such a solution, Dr. Wulf explained. In 2011, Presidents Peres and Abbas used the 1967 lines plus swaps to reach an agreement on borders. In exchange for Israel’s gaining 3 – 6 % of the West Bank, Palestine gained the 3 – 6% of Israel (“The Triangle”) where there is the highest concentration of Palestinians.  Using this agreement means 80% of Jewish settlers would stay where they are.  Even the 2013 Arab League peace initiative includes swaps.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wulf pointed out that Israeli’s military brass have said a well-crafted agreement would give Israel the same or greater level of security.  He thought that formal Israeli recognition of the Palestinian narrative of catastrophic exile could change the conversation about refugees.  And while both sides want to claim an undivided Israel, Dr. Wulf asserted that the reality on the ground is that Jerusalem is already divided, with clear borders.  Elements of a two-state solution already exist or could be agreed upon.  Moderate Muslim states are willing to work with Israel. What’s missing, he believes, is the political will to bring them about, and heroic leaders who are willing to sacrifice their own political future for the future of their nations.

Dr. Wulf observed that while Israelis talk easily about many different approaches to the conflict, Americans avoid these conversations or find them offensive.  He offered three guidelines that could help us have constructive conversations about the conflict. He calls them “The Three No’s”:

     1.  No blaming
     2.  No historical justifications for right to land
     3.  No moral justifications


After a break for food and conversation, Dr. Wulf responded to questions that had been submitted by the audience, then summarized and posed by Rabbi Regev.  Dr. Wulf talked about the lack of water in Gaza as a human rights issue, the value of building Palestinian civil society, the importance of seeking out Palestinian moderates within Israel and work with moderate Arab states, the opportunity posed by Fatah’s break with Hamas, the need to distinguish between the destabilizing settler movement and legitimate growth, the danger of Israel’s discontinuation of Palestinian tax revenue to punish the Palestinian Authority, and what it will take to coexist peacefully with Hamas.

Most audience members were very appreciative of Dr. Wulf’s remarks and approach.  They noted his knowledge, clarity, dynamism and balance. One person commented, “Dr. Wulf’s presentation is an excellent primer for discussion within the Jewish community.”  Dr. Wulf is working on a video of his presentation and is available to speak about Israel to congregations and other interested groups throughout the United States.  He offers shorter presentations as well as half day and longer workshops. Contact him at: [email protected].


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