The dream of peace vs. the nightmare of divestment


November 9, 2014 (originally published by Stanford Daily)


I was born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel. When I was 10 years old, the Second Intifada began and weekly Palestinian terrorist attacks in my hometown became a routine. One of my classmates died in one of those attacks when the bus she took to school exploded and burned. She was only 10 years old. A few weeks later, a friend of mine lost her hearing in a similar bus attack. In the chaos of the Intifada, on our way to school, my little brother turned to me and asked, “Ben, am I going to die?” Over the following three years, more than a thousand Israeli civilians lost their lives in bus and restaurant bombings, kidnappings and shootings.


Despite the war, my friends and I never gave up the dream of peace with our Palestinian neighbors. Rather than leading to hatred, my experiences have led my friends and me to meet and collaborate with Palestinians towards mutual understanding. We dream of the day Israel and Palestine co-exist as neighbors.


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Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley Statement of Support for the Kerry Initiative, July 2013


The Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley strongly endorses the efforts of United States Secretary of State John Kerry to bring about a negotiated settlement. We appreciate that this will be no easy task, but we believe that such a settlement will ultimately promote the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians. We agree with leaders of the Israeli military, as well as leading Israeli political figures, including Prime Minister Netanyahu and Justice Minister Livni, that success of Secretary Kerry’s efforts would provide a path to assure Israel’s long term future. We share their view that without a peace agreement, Israel is doomed to a future of permanent conflict, ultimately straining its ability to thrive as a democratic Jewish state; we are certain that under such circumstances there is no hope for improvement in the Palestinian condition.


There are some promising elements in the current situation. Israel negotiates from a position of strength, with a strong economy and military. On the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has started to build the infrastructure of a future state, both in the economic realm and in the establishment of a civil society. But without direct U.S. involvement, it is unlikely that the two sides can come together and make progress towards peace.


We share the Secretary’s vision that, with peace between Israelis and Palestinians, “the people of Israel and the State of Israel will continue to thrive, continue to lead, continue to keep faith with its ancestors as it keeps faith with its future. That's what lies in front of us, and I hope together we will seize this moment and make the most of it.” We fervently wish him success.


The organized Silicon Valley Jewish community is deeply  committed to the survival and security of the state of Israel. The JCRC serves as a resource for the community, monitoring and disseminating information regarding developments in the Middle East.


An extensive set of resources is available through the Israel Action Network, a strategic initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.


As part of Silicon Valley Celebrates Israel events held on Yom Ha’atzmaut, JCRC hosts a special lecture that provides increased understanding of the Israel-Silicon Valley relationship. Past lecturers include: Ron Hadar, President and COO of TIGO Energy, a solar development company with R&D in Los Gatos and Kfar Saba, and Shuly Galili, Jacques Benkoski, Josef Friedman, Jacob Tanz and Donna Rosenthal.


The Israeli Election Process, 2013


The upcoming national elections in Israel will be held on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. These elections will determine the composition of the 19th Knesset and of the government to be established based on these results. Israel is a parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister, who heads Israel’s government, is chosen from among the members of the newly-elected Knesset, Israel’s parliament.

For more information, provided by the Jewish Community Relations Council, click here.




On Wednesday, at 9 pm in Israel (2 pm eastern), Israel accepted the recommendation of President Obama to give the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire a chance. Quiet will be met with quiet. If Hamas and the rest of the terrorist groups in Gaza violate the ceasefire, the IDF will respond forcefully.


The sole purpose of Operation Pillar of Defense was to end Hamas’ terrorist rocket fire and cross-border attacks on Israel and its citizens.


The operation was conducted with a well defined plan, and with the utmost care and caution to protect the lives of those in Gaza who are uninvolved. Operation Pillar of Defense yielded significant achievements, hitting more than 1,600 terrorist targets in Gaza. Most rockets aimed at central Israel--in particular, Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets and launchers--and thousands of rockets aimed at southern Israel were destroyed. Command and control abilities, including senior leadership and operatives, infrastructure, laboratories, and weapons caches were significantly damaged. Operation Pillar of Defense also inflicted a blow to Iran, the main sponsor of terror in Gaza and the region.


The terrorist organizations in Gaza assumed that regional circumstances allowed them more freedom to act against Israeli citizens. Israel has and will continue to take all necessary steps to defend its citizens.


Israel expresses its deep appreciation to President Obama, the Administration and Congress for their enduring commitment to the safety and security of the Israeli people. We are thankful for their solidarity and support for Israel’s right to defend itself.


We are profoundly appreciative of the United States’ contribution to the Iron Dome system. The Iron Dome proved to be a strategic asset, intercepting more than 400 rockets aimed at Israeli population centers, including Tel Aviv, and saving countless lives. Thanks to IDF operations and the Iron Dome, only 7 percent of the 1,500 rockets launched at Israel fell in urban areas.


We want to commend the constructive role of Egypt and President Morsi in their effort to bring about a ceasefire.

Past Events

Bay Area Rally for Israel, 8/3/14

Community Gathering, 7/22/14

Avi Melamed Lecture, 3/30/2011

Prof. David Passig, 1/9/2011