Project Abraham: Jeffrey Kovac
I was raised in a middle class Jewish family. The grandson of four Holocaust survivors and I received a Jewish education as a kid. I was never taught to hate Muslims or Arabs, but I did have preconceived notions of what Israel was all about. When I moved to Israel in 1997, I was shocked to see that even though Israel is the Jewish state and the homeland for Judaism, it really is a collage of so many different people Arabs, Christians, Jews, the religious and the secular all living in coexistence together. And there are approximately 70,000 Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank that come into Israel every day to work. They have access to Israel's hospitals. And I was floored to realize how the vast majority of Palestinians are really lovely people. They don't want war. They want peace. Only they're unfortunately too terrified to speak up against the regimes that keep them sequestered.
The issue at hand is not Israeli versus Palestinian or nor is it Jews versus Muslims. It's a fight between democratic, civilized values versus religious fanaticism. If peace is eventually going to be achieved, then government leaders on both sides need to be replaced with more civic minded leaders and more moderate thinkers who will be able to come back to the table to iron out a two state solution.
I can openly say that Israel does not want war. We want to live in peace side by side with our Palestinian cousins. The reality is this the vast majority of Israelis love our Palestinian cousins and vice versa. However, our Palestinian brethren need to be freed from the clutches of Hamas and allow them to live freely democratically, with all the opportunities for a healthy, happy and above all else, a secure life.