How do Israeli Arabs perform Hajj

The future of the State of Israel:
Inner and outer perspectives

Notes and observations from an international workshop of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung on March 28 and 29, 2001 in Berlin - by Stephan Stetter

Re: organizational matters
1. Aim of the event
(March 28, 9:30 a.m.)
Extract from the program:
“With the landslide victory of Ariel Sharon in the election of the new prime minister, a new phase of politics has begun for Israel. It will be shaped by great uncertainties about the future of the peace process and thus also about stability in the Middle East. [...] The crisis in the peace process also reflects the deeper crisis in Israeli society. The Israelis' insecurity has deeper causes and the domestic political chaos is only a symptom of a serious identity crisis. [...] The conference wants to investigate the causes of the crisis, especially in one Division of society along several lines of conflict the expression is: orthodox - secular; Jewish - Arabic; poor rich; European / Ashkenazi - Oriental / Sephardic; etc .. In addition, the possible Effects of this split on the peace process and the question of what Germans and Europeans can and must continue to do to promote peace in the Middle East. "

Conference opening by Dr. Ernst-J. Kerbusch (Head of the International Development Cooperation Department of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation)
Despite the unsettling political situation in Israel, we must not lose sight of the causes of the crisis and possible solutions. For more than 30 years, the Ebert Foundation has dealt intensively with the Middle East and has had local offices for more than 20 years. The Basic lines of the commitment of the Ebert Foundation are congruent with the German and European interest in peace and stability in the region. The Ebert Foundation is aware of the special responsibility that Germans have towards Israel resulting from the Holocaust. Welcoming the participants, the members of the Knesset and the Bundestag and the employees of the Israel office of the Ebert Foundation Dr. Winfried Veit, Türkan Karakurt and Dirk Sadowski.

Re: organizational matters
2. Notes about the participants
1. Israeli participants
The Israeli participants represented very different social groups in Israel. For a German audience, this was probably a unique opportunity to get a deeper impression of the plurality of Israeli society. Seven Knesset members (out of a total of 120) attended the conference. In relation to the German Bundestag, this would correspond to around 40 members of the Bundestag who would take part in an event.

a) Members of the Knesset

  • Avital, Colette: Former Ambassador, Chairwoman of the International Division of the Israeli Labor Party (ILP);
  • Bronfman, Roman: Chairman of the Democratic Election party, one of the most prominent representatives of immigrants from the former Soviet Union;
  • Eitan, Michael: Likud Party (Prime Minister Sharon’s Party);
  • Goldschmidt, Elie: Israeli Labor Party, voluntarily resigned from the Knesset in February 2001 to set an example against the decline of political culture in Israel. Until then, chairman of the finance committee and chairman of the Israeli-German parliamentary group;
  • Gal-On, Zahava: parliamentary group leader of the left-wing Meretz party. Member of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense;
  • Peretz, Yair: Chairman of the ultra-orthodox Sephardic Shas party, member of the Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense;
  • Tibi, Ahmed: Ta-al Party, influential Israeli-Arab politician and close confidante of Yasser Arafat.
b) other Israeli participants
  • Professor Al-Haj, Majid: Director of the “Center for Multiculturalism and Education” at Haifa University, one of the leading Arab intellectuals in Israel;
  • Carmi, Na‘ama: Board member of the "Association for Civil Rights in Israel"
  • Professor Diner, Dan: historian, director of the "Center for European Studies" at the Ben-Gurion University in Be‘er Sheva, director of the "Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History" in Leipzig;
  • Feffer, Tomer: spokesman for B‘Tselem (Israeli organization for the protection of human rights in the occupied territories);
  • Harel, Israel: publicist, co-founder of the Settlers Council in the Occupied Territories, one of the most influential thinkers of the nationalist camp;
  • Harpaz, Tamir: Israeli musician (guitar);
  • Dr. Hirschfeld, Yair: Director of the "Economic Co-operation Foundation" (think tank for peace issues), co-architect of the Oslo Peace Treaty;
  • Kaniuk, Yoram: one of the most famous Israeli writers ("And the Sea Parted", "Happiness in Exile", "The Promised Land" [in collaboration with the Arab writer Emil Habibi]);
  • Primor, Avi: Former Ambassador to Germany. Board member of the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future", President of the "Israeli-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry", Vice President of Tel Aviv University;
  • Sarouf, Einat: Israeli singer;
  • Professor Sandler, Shmuel: Director of the Political Science Department at the national religiously oriented Bar-Ilan University.
2. German participants
  • Dr. Bertram, Christoph: Director of the Science and Politics Foundation, Berlin;
  • Erler, Gernot MdB: Deputy Chairman of the SPD parliamentary group;
  • Fuchs, Anke Member of the Bundestag: Vice President of the German Bundestag and Deputy Chairwoman of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation;
  • Karakurt, Türkan: Deputy Head of the FES Israel Office;
  • Moosbauer, Christoph MdB: Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, spokesman for Middle East issues of the SPD parliamentary group;
  • Dr. Puschra, Werner: FES, Department Near and Middle East / North Africa, Bonn
  • Sadowski, Dirk: FES Office Israel
  • Dr. Veit, Winfried: Head of the FES Israel Office;
  • Weisskirchen, Gert MdB: Foreign policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group.
Re: Outer Perspectives / Germany-Israel
Primor: "A special relationship in the long run: German-Israeli relations"
(March 28, 10:00 a.m.)
Avi Primor outlined German-Israeli relations against the background of three interwoven ones Time horizons.

1. Becoming the State of Israel
In Israel they never wanted to know anything about Germany again. This was the lesson learned from the Holocaust for the majority of the Israeli population. Germany (west and east) should permanently remain a blank spot on Israeli maps. Due to pressure from the population, the entry in Israeli passports was made: "Valid for all countries, with the exception of Germany". This entry came about largely through public pressure. The political leadership of Israel was interested in partial contact with Germany - but was aware of the social resistance. When reparation was decided by the Knesset, Israelis threw stones at their parliament ...

2. Development of the State of Israel
... but Ben-Gurion and the political leadership were able to achieve their goal. Their argument was that there was a new Germany, a democratic one, with which Israel should also maintain relations. Ben-Gurion spoke of a moral duty to help those in Germany who wanted to build a democracy and who were not prepared to continue to suppress the murder of European Jews by Germans. This was the basis for the first, hesitant contacts between (West) Germany and Israel, especially on an economic level. Since the 1960s, more and more have developed from this interpersonal contacts. These contacts, the many conversations between Israelis and Germans, are that Foundation of relationships. Bilateral agreements create contacts, but roots have taken place on the human level, so that today Germany is Israel's most important partner alongside the USA ...

3. Future of the State of Israel
... it is necessary to build on this foundation. In Israel, the view is becoming more and more accepted that relations with Europe will be of particular importance in the future. This is especially true after a peace agreement with the Palestinians. A lasting peace will open new doors to Israel. The EU is already Israel's most important neighbor and Germany is Israel's most important advocate in Europe. As a future perspective, Israel does not only want treaties with the EU, but also one in the long term institutional anchoring in a united Europe. As early as 1994, the European Council in Essen assured Israel the prospect of "privileged status".
 

Re: external perspectives / peace process
4th panel "The future of the peace process"
Moderation: Bertram. Participants: Avital, Eitan, Harel, Tibi
(March 28, 10:30 a.m.)
Christoph Bertram asked the panelists about their views on the crisis in the peace process, the chances of survival of the Oslo provisions and possible ways out of the crisis. Different ratings clashed in the process, but nevertheless there was a willingness in principle for a viable, lasting peace solution common denominator.

1. Causes of the crisis and violence: political strategy or justified disappointment?
Avital and Tibi both pointed out that the deep-seated disappointment in Palestinian society with the ongoing Israeli occupation is the root cause of the crisis and violence. Avital also pointed out that the unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to stop the violence is a serious obstacle on the way to peace. Eitan and Harel see the crisis as a political strategy deliberately applied by the Palestinian leadership and criticize the unwillingness of the Western world to bring the Palestinians to an end to the violence.

2. Ways out of the spiral of violence: Back to Oslo, but how?
All participants agreed in condemning the violence on both sides and in some cases also exercised self-criticism. Still prevailed Dissent over ways back to the negotiating table. While Avital called for the broken contacts and negotiations to be resumed immediately and not to wait for an end to the violence, Eitan made further substantial peace negotiations dependent on a prior renunciation of violence. Eitan and Harel called on the EU to put more pressure on Palestinian President Arafat to do this.

3. A final peace! But on what denominator?
Tibi emphasized that even the then Prime Minister Barak's proposals in Camp David were far from meeting the Palestinian minimum requirement. Avital and Eitan, however, referred to Barak's proposals as the basis for a lasting peace solution. In the long term, only peaceful coexistence on both sides is a solid foundation for both politicians. Avital emphasized that the principles of lasting peace had been known since Oslo: a two-state solution could be the only viable result. While Avital and Tibi referred to the occupation of the West Bank, Eitan and Harel emphasized the Jewish roots of this area. Harel therefore also rejected Barak's proposals. The settler movement sees the occupied territories as an integral part of Israel. But Harel also showed a willingness to compromise. Although the settlers refuse to hand over the territory to the Palestinians, as democrats they would still accept such a decision by the Israeli parliament or the Israeli people.
 

Re: external perspectives / human rights
5. Lecture: Feffer "Peace Process and Human Rights"
(March 28, 12 noon)
B‘Tselem has been collecting information on the human rights situation in the occupied territories since 1989. Tomer Feffer painted a bleak picture of the situation.

From the perspective of human rights, Oslo must be viewed critically; of one Improvement of the human rights situation in the occupied territories since the beginning of the peace process cannot be spoken of. The majority of the occupied territories are still under Israeli control and settlement construction, which violates international law, has continued since 1993. Israeli controls within the occupied territories severely restrict fundamental freedoms of the Palestinians, such as freedom of movement. Many provisions that make partial sense for security reasons are to be viewed as collective punishments in their application and criticized from a human rights perspective. The situation has escalated since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in October 2000. Israeli security forces have still not found a way to contain violence from the Palestinian side without taking the casualties lightly. It is also against international law that the Israeli military de facto does not initiate an investigation into its own soldiers, even if there is reasonable suspicion that, for example, fire was opened without prior provocations from the Palestinian side.

The high hopes associated with Oslo for an improvement in the human rights situation are also disappointed by Palestinian politics. The PA is establishing a questionable system of government in the areas it controls. There are many arrests without subsequent legal proceedings, torture in investigations is an effective means, the court system does not meet the rule of law and death sentences are often hastily imposed by security courts. Neither can the increase in attacks on Jewish settlers be justified by anything.

The situation in the occupied territories is problematic. Both sides do not attach great importance to the human rights issue and have also lost the ability to be self-critical and restrained.

Re: External perspectives / role of the EU and Germany
6th panel "What can and should Germans / Europeans do in the Middle East?"
Moderation: Bertram. Participants: Hirschfeld, Moosbauer, Peretz, Tibi
(March 28, 12.30 p.m.)

Christoph Bertram asked the discussion participants about their assessment of the role of the EU and Germany in the Middle East and the future development potential of the engagement, especially in the role of the EU as the "financier" of the Palestinian Authority. Bertram also warned against overestimating the possibilities for influence understood at Camp David that influence often requires the consent of the conflicting parties on the ground.

1. The role of the EU so far: "Player or payer"?
There was consensus in the group about the central importance of the previous engagement of the EU, especially as the main donor of funds to the Palestinian Authority. Peretz emphasized that the previous financial support was necessary for the survival of the Palestinian population and should therefore not be suspended. Only in the event of further escalation of violence should the EU also consider freezing payments. Hirschfeld welcomed the payments from the EU without hesitation, but also stressed the need for efficient control of the allocation of funds. Ahmed Tibi welcomed the EU's financial commitment, but missed any further political action by the Europeans. The EU is ultimately more of a “payer” than a “player”. Moosbauer contradicted this view. The financial commitment of the EU is at the same time a political one. Moosbauer also made it clear that the allocation of funds is already tied to strict control criteria.

2. Options for action for the EU: what does active engagement actually look like?
Peretz warned against excessive expectations with regard to the influence of the EU or other international actors. The EU could use its influence once Israel and the Palestinians have agreed on a final peace. In the Implementation of a peace treaty the EU and the USA should help with the implementation of the treaty provisions. In the short term, the EU should help to moderate the Palestinian side with a view to an early cessation of violence.

Hirschfeld emphasized that a stronger role for the EU is already conceivable at this point in time. Since concepts for the final peace already exist (Beilin-Abu Masen Agreement and the Clinton proposals based on it), the EU should publicly encourage both sides to pursue the principles laid down in these proposals. This would be an important mediator for Europe. The EU must also make it clear that a right of return for Palestinians to Israel is incompatible with the Oslo principles. The EU should promote Israeli-Palestinian peace projects and the expansion of civil society institutions in the Palestinian territories even more than before.

In contrast, Tibi criticized the EU's Middle East policy because it was too passive. Above all, Germany shows too little understanding for the Palestinians and promotes too great a reluctance towards Israel. Tibi called on the EU to boycott products from the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories in the future.

Moosbauer emphasized the very own European interest in further development in the Middle East, but also made it clear that the EU can only provide framework conditions and that substantial progress in the peace process must come from the region. To support this process, the EU should continue to offer its good offices, such as (financial) support for the various peacekeeping forces on the ground. For Germany, the security of the State of Israel continues to be the premise of Middle East policy. Moosbauer warned against exaggerated expectations about the speed of the peace process. Such complex political processes cannot be completely resolved in a few years.

Re: Outer Perspectives / Israel
7th panel "Where is Israel today?"
Moderation: Erler. Participants: Bronfman, Goldschmidt, Sandler, Weisskirchen
(March 28, 3 p.m.)

Gernot Erler called for the situation in the Middle East not to be reduced to the peace process. In the EU, like in the USA, the view that the Middle East in its regional context to understand. We can currently speak of a larger arc of crisis that extends across the Balkans, the Middle East, the Black Sea and the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea. All of this must be taken into account by Europe when designing a Middle East policy.

1. How is the conflict to be assessed: Westphalia in the Middle East?
Sandler established a historical connection between European history and the development of the last few decades in the Middle East. The Middle East is in an age of "low intensity conflicts", ie war between states in the region is not to be expected directly, but instead an increasing number of "civil war-like", ethnic-national disputes, such as the Al-Aqsa Intifada since October 2000. In contrast to the USA, the EU has historical memories of such conflicts, which are in many ways reminiscent of Europe after the Peace of Westphalia. The Arab-Israeli conflict (wars between states) has increasingly turned into a Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The complexity of the conflict will make an early solution difficult and a longer time horizon must be considered. After the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, Europe, according to Sandler, finally needed 300 years to establish lasting peace.

2. Role of the EU and future relations with Israel
Sandler was skeptical of a greater role for the EU, which was already unable to contribute to conflict resolution in the Balkans. Bronfman and Goldschmidt, on the other hand, spoke out in favor of an increased role for the EU. Of course, both were skeptical about the chances of success of such an initiative. Goldschmidt stated that through its financial contributions to the Palestinians, the EU already played a key role in the Middle East. However, when it comes to options for action to end the current violence, the EU has hardly any options. Bronfman criticized the still existing disagreements over the EU's Middle East policy between the member states.

Both Bronfman and Goldschmidt welcomed Primor's proposals for an institutional anchoring of Israel in the EU. Bronfman stressed that he could envision Israel as a candidate country in the long term.

Weisskirchen represented the EU's strong security interests in a stable Middle East. The EU's Middle East policy can only be successful if it works with the USA to find a common denominator. The EU should do more to help build civil society structures in the Palestinian territories in order to increase symmetry with Israel.

3. On the way to peace: Barak's contribution
Despite the clear electoral defeat of Ehud Barak by Ariel Sharon in February 2001, there was one surprise positive assessment of Barak's political role. Sandler, although critical of the Oslo provisions, expressed his conviction that Barak would go down in Israeli history as an important prime minister because he was the first leading politician to give a definitive peace settlement a clear shape at Camp David. Goldschmidt and Bronfman described Barak's proposals as a courageous and innovative basis for a historical compromise between Israelis and Palestinians. Together with Weisskirchen, they expect that these very proposals will form the future basis for negotiations. "We will", said Weisskirchen, "get back to Barak."

4. Discussion
In a moving statement, the governor of the Palestinian Autonomous Region Jenin called for a continuation of the Oslo peace process. But more needs to be done so that Israelis and Palestinians can meet on an equal footing. The breaking of taboos by Barak is to be welcomed, but an even greater willingness to compromise is required. This also applies to the Palestinians, who are not allowed to stop the peace process in their own interest.

Re: external perspectives / Kaniuk
8th public lecture event "Encounter with Yoram Kaniuk"
Moderation: Fuchs. Other participants: Avital, Moosbauer
(March 28, 7 p.m., Willy-Brandt-Haus)

Yoram Kaniuk vividly described his very personal view of the relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

Much hopes about the possibilities for real peace have vanished in the last few months. The biggest problem is the recurring role of history. Israelis and Palestinians have still not learned to appreciate each other's history. The expulsion of the Palestinians has been an injustice. But this does not give anyone the right to deny Israel, the Jewish state, its right to exist (and that would mean a right of return for all Palestinians). There is a just, moral basis for Israel to exist. When Eichmann wanted to sell the Jews, no state was willing to accept these persecuted people. If Israel had already existed by that time, 1942, how many lives could have been saved. After the Holocaust, the Jews had no choice but to found their own state. Israel is no stranger to the Middle East. "I, my daughter and my dog," says Kaniuk, "were born there. The dog looks and behaves that way too."

For the sake of the future, Israelis and Palestinians must stop thinking in clichés about the other side and open up to genuine dialogue. Together with the Arab writer Emil Habibi, Kaniuk had founded a Jewish-Arab organization during the 1st Intifada since 1987, which was looking for ways of peaceful coexistence. Proposals were made to establish a two-state model with Jerusalem as the divided capital. Behind this committee, as it turned out later, was Yasser Arafat. But there is a lack of courageous public statements, not of concealed consent. Barak's proposals from Camp David were the great exception here.

Terrible things are happening right now, there is murder and both sides speak different languages. Only a new dialogue situation can lead out of this dilemma. This is a difficult path, but “we only have our heads, we have to use them”. A New Middle East also requires a New Thinking. “Maybe there is no chance, but we have to pretend it does "demanded Kaniuk.

Overcoming the spiral of violence would finally give both societies the necessary calm to tackle their internal problems, especially those of a social nature. To achieve this, Kaniuk called for more moderation: “Arabs and Jews have a problem, they always want to be right. But now is the time to compromise. Let us be less right, but be smarter. "

Re: Inner Perspectives / Introduction
1. "A divided society in search of a new identity"
Introduction: Veit
(March 29, 9:30 a.m.)

Winfried Veit recalled the discussion on the previous day of the workshop and the plurality of opinions in Israel on foreign policy issues. But it is also in internal questions Israeli society is characterized by many ruptures. On the one hand, this is a positive example of a living democracy, but on the other hand, the increasing dominance of partial self-interests could endanger democratic coexistence. Increasing internal fragmentation also harbors risks with regard to Israel's external ability to make peace ...

... an increasing instability of Israel can be seen in the ongoing changes of government since the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin in November 1995 ...

... building on his positive experience with future scenarios, which he made as head of the FES office in South Africa during the regime change there, the FES office in Israel has now also carried out a scenario project. This should be presented in the further course of the workshop and provide the basis for the subsequent discussions.

(For more information on the scenario, see the Friedrich Ebert Foundation scenario.)

Re: Inner Perspectives / Scenario
2. “Israel in 2025 - scenarios of future development
Presentation: Sadowski, Commentary: Hirschfeld
(March 29, 9.45 a.m.)

Dirk Sadowski presented the results of the scenario project. When developing the future scenarios, the participants were not concerned with setting common goals, but with the most realistic possible options for the future. The group developed the scenarios between January 1999 and June 2000, consisted of representatives from various social groups in Israel and was jointly led by Yair Hirschfeld and Israel Harel. After hearing expert presentations on topics such as demographic, social, economic and security development trends, fourteen different individual scenarios were drawn up. From this number, the group then filtered out four key potential development paths for Israeli society.

As a common denominator, the group agreed that Israel is currently by itself overlaying and mutually exacerbating internal societal conflicts is shaped. An agreement was reached on the allegory of a "ship in a storm". Where is the "Israeli ship" heading. These are the four scenarios of future development

1. Israel as a slave ship - dictatorship of the Jewish majority over the Arab minority
This scenario assumes a permanent continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The security situation in Israel therefore remains tense, leading to increased social tensions, especially between the Arab minority, which is striving for national rights, and the Jewish majority population. There are always violent protests and, as a result, more restrictive laws against the Arab minority by a right-wing religious majority.

2. Israel as a drifting ship - the loss of the Jewish character of the state
This scenario assumes an at least partial solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. This leads to an increasing concentration on internal social conflicts. The Zionist consensus is increasingly being called into question by left-wing liberal Jewish groups. At the same time, the Arab minority is increasingly questioning the Jewish character of the state. Gradually, the previously identity-creating Jewish symbols are disappearing from public life. The Jewish state thus loses its actual foundations.

3. Israel is divided into three dinghies - the autonomization of society
Here, too, an at least partial solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict is assumed. The Arab minority is also increasingly questioning the Jewish character, but is facing the united resistance of the Jewish part of the population. At the same time, however, the contradiction between religious and secular groups about the future of the state is intensifying within the Jewish camp. In response to the separatist tendencies of the Arabs and the religious, the State of Israel is dissolving into a pseudo-federation of alienated autonomous social units.

4. Israel steers into calmer waters - dialogue and willingness to renounce
The only optimistic scenario. Last but not least, it is also based on wishful thinking that the obvious internal tensions can be resolved. For this scenario, the group assumes a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict. The internal contradictions are also the starting point in this scenario. However, the various social groups agree on a new "social contract" for Israel. Dialogue and willingness to renounce all groups are a prerequisite for this, the result is a strengthening of internal peace, a consolidation of the Jewish character of the state while at the same time improving the situation of the Arab minority.

In his remarks, Yair Hirschfeld made a few additional remarks. Regardless of their political orientation, the various participants were aware that the dialogue within society must be strengthened in Israel. The group was able to agree on the three negative scenarios, the positive scenario, as all participants were aware of, is based to a large extent on wishful thinking. The problem in Israel is very often that dialogues between left and right groups, for example, or even between the settler movement and the Palestinian Authority at a secret level take place in a constructive manner, but that there is a lack of willingness to stand up for this dialogue publicly.

Re: Inner Perspectives / Jews-Arabs: Lines of Conflict
3. "Jewish state or state of all citizens?"
Moderation: Goldschmidt, participants: Al-Haj, Avital, Sandler, Tibi
(March 29, 11:15 a.m.)

Elie Goldschmidt pointed out how emotionally charged this topic is. The substance of the question “Jewish state or state of all citizens” has arisen since the founding of Israel, but has recently increased in importance and intensity. The riots by Israeli Palestinians in October 2000 and the reaction of the Israeli police are indications of this. While there is formal equality at the legal level, discrimination is still present, for example in budget issues or in public life.

They were in the discussion wide-ranging differences of opinion between Jews and Arabs not to be ignored.

Al-Haj and Tibi spoke out against the option of a Jewish state. Tibi sees in this conception a collective appropriation of the state by the Jews at the expense of the non-Jewish groups, who remain permanently excluded. Al-Haj pointed to the contradiction between this ethnocentric definition of the state and the multicultural reality of social life in Israel. The Jewish character of the state leads to a double exclusion for the Palestinian minority. On the one hand from Israeli society, on the other hand from the emerging Palestinian society in the autonomous regions. Both Al-Haj and Tibi were also skeptical about the applicability of the concept of the “state of all citizens” to the Palestinian minority. This formal-democratic concept only recognizes individual rights of individuals vis-à-vis the state, thus misjudging the collective identity of the Palestinians and others Minorities. Tibi expressed the aim of achieving full civil equality for minorities, recognizing the status of a national minority for the Israeli Palestinians (and other groups) and abandoning the Zionist orientation of the state.
 

Avital and Sandler took different views. Both spoke out in favor of maintaining the Jewish character of the state. Avital pointed out that democracy is characterized by both the power of the majority and the respect for the rights of minorities. The contradiction between the Jewish state and the equality of non-Jewish groups is therefore often exaggerated. It is about strengthening the Jewish and the democratic element of Israel. The Arab minority must, however, be more closely integrated into Israel's decision-making centers in the future. Sandler pointed out that there is no historical justification for the State of Israel other than its emergence from the Zionist idea of ​​the nation state. From a practical perspective, this very conviction is one of the strongest reasons for Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and a two-state model, because without this withdrawal the Jewish character of the state would be undermined in the medium term. Together with Al-Haj, Sandler also spoke out against an overly simple transfer of the concept of the “state of all citizens” to minorities. He also sees future prospects in an increased focus on multicultural concepts of coexistence between the Jewish majority and non-Jewish minorities.

Re: Inner Perspectives / Religious-Secular: Lines of Conflict
4. "Democracy or the state of God?"
Moderation: Primor, participants: Bronfman, Gal-On, Peretz
(March 29, 1:30 p.m.)

Avi Primor emphasized that Judaism is the only nationally oriented monotheistic religion. It is restricted to one people.What does this mean for the Jews in Israel? How central is the role of religion for social life? There were contradicting views on these questions, depending on the point of view of the participants in the discussion.

Gal-On and Bronfman criticized the lack of separation from State and religion in Israel. In their view, there is a struggle between liberal and fundamentalist worldview. Religion should be a matter for the individual alone. Much in Israel, so Bronfman, does not fit into a modern democracy, such as the central role of the rabbinical courts in marriage and family issues or the religious definition of the question "Who is a Jew?" Gal-On gave examples from family life, testify to the religious compulsion of the orthodox minority on the secular majority. Only a separation of state and religion can Israel guarantee its permanent position as part of the democratic world. According to Bronfman, the common denominator of all Israelis lies beyond religious questions. Gal-On appealed to previous panel. Israel is not a Jewish state, but the state of the Jewish people. Such a definition also allows full equality of non-Jewish minorities and an "Israelization" of Israeli society.

Yair Peretz gave the opposite interpretation. In his lecture he highlighted the democratic tradition of the Jewish religion. Judaism is based on the idea of ​​the right to freedom of expression and majority decisions are already propagated in the Talmud. He doesn't want a state in which the power is religious. On the other hand, Israel must not become a completely secular state, because the Jews need a home for their unique culture. Judaism is this cultural root of the State of Israel. Without its Jewish character, Israel has no right to exist. Peretz regretted the increased tensions between the secular and the religious in recent years and blamed the overly secular decisions of the Supreme Court (e.g. opening of shops on Shabbat), which had not paid enough attention to the ideas of the growing Orthodox population.

Re: Inner perspectives / civil rights
5. "Civil Rights in Israel"
Lecture: Carmi
(March 29, 2:30 p.m.)

Na‘ama Carmi painted a sad picture of civil rights in Israel. Civil society structures can still be greatly expanded. One reason for this goes back to the phase before the establishment of the state, because the majority of its founders came from Eastern Europe, where Western-style civil rights were not of greater importance. To this day, Israel lacks a constitution that formally establishes universal human rights and guarantees the citizen freedom rights against the exercise of state power. Today the decisive opposition comes from religious groups who oppose equality and a civil constitution. The longstanding conflict with the Arab world has also led to an underestimation of the importance of civil rights at the expense of a strong state.

In Israel today there are many social groups that are affected by the lack of pronounced civil society structures Are exposed to disadvantages. This applies to Arabs, women, non-Jewish immigrants, homosexuals and foreign workers, for example. Carmi gave numerous examples of extensive disadvantage for these groups in her presentation.

One of the few "allies" in civil rights issues in the past has been the Israeli Supreme Court, which has decisively strengthened civil society structures in some judgments. An example is the ban on torture methods during interviews by the Israeli security authorities. The awareness that civil rights do not exist The luxury goods of a saturated society are only slowly gaining acceptance in Israel, so a comprehensive change in the legal situation, including the adoption of a constitution, must inevitably be preceded by a change in norms and ways of thinking in Israeli society.

Re: Inner Perspectives / Identity
6. "A divided society in search of a new identity"
Moderation: Diner, participants: Al-Haj, Bronfman, Gal-On, Goldschmidt, Peretz
(March 29, 3 p.m.)

At the beginning, Dan Diner presented the relationship between the question of identity in Israel and the Middle East conflict. Oslo then tries to neutralize historical memory, i.e. to neutralize the identities of both sides and to set in motion a process aimed at the present and the future. The Camp David summit in the summer of 2000 then showed that even today an agreement on questions of identity can fail. The Temple Mount, the return of Palestinian refugees, all of these Topics symbolize questions of belonging and identity. An identity understood in this way also plays a major role in Israel. Nevertheless, there is hope of a willingness to compromise, because identities are also subject to changes and adjustments. It can also be helpful that Israel is not multicultural today, but shows a certain heterogeneity in the partial identities of society. For the development of an identity in diversity it applies Intersection of these different narratives to find out. The common denominator is based on the interplay of national territory, the Jewish character of the state and the civil-democratic orientation of its institutions.

Gal-On expressed concern about the development of central partial identities in Israel. Religious, non-orthodox Zionism, as it is expressed in the settlements in the West Bank, is an indication of a Greater Israeli territorial ideology. The implications of this development are far-reaching, because nationalist ideologies are having a magnetic effect on the ultra-orthodox and moderate-right groups in Israel.

In his statement, Al-Haj drew attention to the identity conflicts in the Palestinian population of Israel. The Arabs of Israel are only "partial members" of both Israeli and the emerging Palestinian society. At the moment, one can observe a struggle between social groups to preserve their respective identities. At the same time, the willingness to learn more about other social groups should be encouraged. Jews and Arabs should respect their cultural autonomy, but at the same time enter into a dialogue about their respective cultures.

Peretz painted a complex picture of Israeli society. From the homogeneous society of the founding years, the individual identities of individual groups have been developing since the 1980s. Israel today is a multicultural society. But the price is high, because the classic identity has been lost and Israel is deeply divided socially. However, Peretz was convinced that a new generation can create a new social center and new solidarity.

Bronfman also saw Israel as a "modern Babylonian tower", but pointed out that there is a basis for a unified identity. Israel is oriented towards European values ​​on the normative level. On this basis it is necessary to build on the undeniable Stop the fragmentation of society.

Goldschmidt created a slightly different perspective. Especially the ethnic diversity, the "mish-mash" of society is typically Israeli. This is not a new development, because Israel has been multicultural since the state was founded. This was only denied in public discourse, where the creation of a "homogeneous Israeli" has long been sought has been. Today it is easier for Israel to accept its heterogeneous unity. It is a special achievement of Israeli democracy to keep these different identities in dialogue with one another. In a democracy, many identities can stand side by side as long as the democratic values ​​form the binding context.

Re: Inner Perspectives / Closing Event
7. "From the history of Israel"
Experiences and thoughts. A personal examination of a reading by Yoram Kaniuk and songs by Einat Sarouf and Tamir Harpaz
(March 29, 7:00 p.m.)

At the beginning of the evening closing event, which took place in a festive setting, Werner Puschra read from Yoram Kaniuk's book "Desire".

Yoram Kaniuk then took the stage personally and spoke in a very personal way about how the history of Israel has touched, rubbed and developed with his own life story. He told from the beginnings of the state: the confrontation with the war. The war of independence in 1948 caught the then eighteen-year-old Kaniuk unprepared, as he came from a middle-class, Central European-German family, where culture was the top priority. From the world of books and music, the intimacy of Schiller and Brahms, young Kaniuk suddenly found himself in "a terrible place", a company of 23 young Jews, only three of whom were supposed to survive the war.

The war, the experience of suffering, murder and brute force, also on the Jewish side, brought Kaniuk into confrontation with his own people. How different were these experiences with those of the youth in the mandate area when there was still hope for less confrontation. His parents were present at the opening concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Palestine (the later Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra) conducted by Toscanini in 1936, which was founded by Bronislaw Huberman. At that time there were no paved roads in Tel Aviv and the concert took place under a tin roof. The onset of rain mingled with the melodies of the music. This simplicity and the message of the music has given hope for a simple but peaceful future. Even if this wish has remained a dream to this day, and "madness, pain and the shock of the fight and a little laughter are the web that made me", Kaniuk affirmed the power of will. he opposed reality to his will. "At some point," Kaniuk concluded, "I decided to be normal, to live normally. I don't know if I was successful, but I tried. "

The event ended with Jewish and Israeli songs performed by Einat Sarouf and Tamir Harpaz. The theme of the workshop was also expressed in the music. The diversity of Israel, because the songs came from different cultures. Yiddish, Sephardic, Israeli songs alternated. Given this diversity, can there be something that connects?

A picture gave rise to hope. The singer asked the Israeli participants to perform a final song on the stage. The peace song (Shir-Ha-Shalom) was sung. Since the assassination of Rabin, this song has stood for the wish for peace, it was the song that Rabin sang a few minutes before the fatal shots hit him. And together all Israelis who took part in the event, right and left, secular and religious, Jews and Arabs sang this song. A moving moment and a special moment that one would like to hold on to for a long time and that maintains the belief in the possibility of dialogue and togetherness in Israel's internal and external relations.



Stephan Stetter, April 2001
(Political scientist, M.Phil., M.Sc., born 1972 in Konstanz, doctoral scholarship from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Studies at the universities of Heidelberg, Jerusalem, London (LSE) and Florence (EUI). Doctorate at the Department of Government the London School of Economics on the Middle East Policy of the European Union)