First of all, Seeds of Peace opened my mind. I met a lot of people. I never dreamed of meeting so many people from Arab countries. I’ve had a lot of conversations with Palestinians, Jordanians, and Egyptians, who have the ability to to make the difference in their own societies, in their own countries.
I will never forget meeting with King Hussein in 1996. We all went to the Palace. I came with the three Israeli delegations from previous years—about 70 participants. Including the Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians, and Americans, we were 180 participants. We met King Hussein. I gave him a present from the Israeli Ministry. In front of all of the people, he took off his tie and put on the tie of Seeds of Peace. He asked everyone to join him, and his people took a picture with all of us together. It really makes you feel important and proud. I was proud to represent Israel.
My father was an executive at the Israeli electricity company. At the end of the Six Day War, he told me to take off from school and to join him while he did his work. He said: “We are going to fix the electricity in East Jerusalem.” For a week, we were on the road. We met the people. They hosted us. We had good friends in Ramallah and Jenin and all of those places. Many years later, in 1996, when I went to Jordan with Seeds of Peace we went through Allenby Bridge [in the West Bank]. For me, it was closing a circle.
How have you impacted your community?
I am the Director of the Education and Youth Division at the Israeli Ministry of Education. I led the first Israeli delegation to Camp in 1993 and have been actively involved in Seeds of Peace programs ever since.
After my experiences with Seeds of Peace, I started to work with Ministry of Education programs that focus on dialogue between Arabs and Jews in Israel. This has become part of my work. At the same time, I became responsible for all official Israeli youth delegations—the selection, the preparation, the seminar abroad, and the evaluation. For each delegation, I always take young graduates from Seeds of Peace, along with other young leaders from Israel.
My main job is director of all of the student councils in Israel. Each school, municipality, and region has a student council, and we have a national student council with 45 young leaders who have been selected from across the country. Last year, the head of the national student council was a Seed. He gave a speech in the Knesset. This shows that Seeds of Peace motivates young people to be leaders. I still believe in dialogue. In spite of the difficulties and the bad news, I have hopes for a better future.”
“I never dreamed to meet so many people from Arab countries. I’ve had a lot of conversations with people—Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians—who have the ability to make the difference in their own societies, in their own countries.”