Isaac Herzog launches forum to promote unity and eradicate baseless hatred


On Sunday, the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, a Jewish day of mourning for the destruction of the two ancient temples in Jerusalem, President Isaac Herzog launched a forum of people from diverse backgrounds that will act as a regular think tank for help promote Israeli unity and eradicate baseless hatred.

Herzog deliberately used the word “Israeli” rather than Jewish, as he believes that the Arab sector, which comprises 20% of the population, should also be represented on a permanent basis.

Former congressman Tehila Friedman led the forum with him, who noted two events in Jerusalem the night before.

One was Safra Square where the municipal seat is located; the other was at the Western Wall, some 300 meters away.

In Safra Square there were circles of people conversing on a variety of topics. At the Western Wall, there was a struggle of one group that disrupted the prayers of another group, and it evolved into a battle over who would win, she said.

Safra Square’s dialogue was not about winners and losers, but about sharing thoughts on many issues.

Herzog, who condemned the Western Wall skirmish, said the scourge of baseless hatred has not gone away and is still very much present. He cited several books he had read recently in which writers, looking at what is happening in Israel and the Jewish world today, saw in it a symbolic destruction of the Third Temple.

While there was consensus that there was a serious problem, opinions were divided on how to resolve it.

Someone suggested the need to create an agreement mechanism. Someone else said there should be more women in the upper echelons of religious organizations.

A view was also expressed that no matter how many committees are established with the aim of creating a better social environment, the goal is unlikely to be achieved as there are a lot of people who don’t care. simply.

Herzog was of the opinion that if the individual can find something meaningful in life, the same principle should apply to a nation. “We have to find tools that allow arguing, but without violence,” he said, asking forum members to think about it and make suggestions.

There was, however, a consensus on the need for a dialogue in which no party denigrated another.

Defining himself as an optimist, Herzog admitted that he also had a pessimistic tendency, in that he could not ignore the history and the fate that befell the Jews in the past. Constant vigilance is needed to avoid a recurrence, he said.

He also reminded his guests that there is redemption as expressed in the words of the prophet Isaiah: Nachamu nachamu friend – “be comforted – be comforted, my people” (Isaiah 40: 1).

The portion of the Bible that begins with these words will be read in synagogues this coming Saturday, known as Shabbat Nachamu, the Sabbath of Comfort following Tisha Be’av.


Leave A Reply