Founding Declaration

July 26 2018

The State of Israel is steadily distancing itself from the humanistic values to which it committed in the Declaration of Independence – justice, equality, freedom and peace –upon which the country was founded.

For seventy years now, we have been living by the sword, and for over fifty years Israel has been an occupying state, ruling the Palestinian nation and denying it its rights.

The severe discrimination of the Israeli Arab society, as well as that of other minority groups, is becoming ever harsher. That part of the population whose members cannot afford to live in dignity is continuously increasing. The institutions tasked with keeping and enforcing the law are being subjected to unprecedented attacks, and political corruption is wreaking havoc everywhere.

More and more citizens, Jews and Arabs, are deeply concerned with this situation, which threatens to destroy the country’s basic characteristics and poses a danger even to its very existence, and refuse to simply stand by idly. Many of those who have never taken an active role in political life now want to play a role in helping to bring about a change.

Consequently, we embark today on a new route, and hereby declare the founding of a political framework, named the Joint Democratic Initiative.

The initiative will be based on a full equal partnership between Jewish and Arab citizens, and will act to bring about a fundamental change in the country’s political realty.

It will strive unequivocally for an end to the occupation and for a full peace agreement, founded on the mutual recognition of Israel and Palestine as two independent sovereign states for the two nations, based on the borderlines of June 4, 1967. At its core will be the fundamental values of democracy and human rights, as well as full equal rights for all the country’s citizens, and it will fight without compromise for freedom of speech and freedom of faith and worship, for social justice and for reinstating Arabic as an official language of the state. The Joint Democratic Initiative will fight with all its might against racism and hatred of the other, and will act relentlessly to uproot political corruption.

We call upon political parties, civic groups and private citizens who agree with these values and positions, to join forces in forming a joint Jewish-Arab political front, which will save us from losing our moral backbone and from the danger posed to our very existence, and which will become a beacon for identification and a source of hope for the many varied parts of the population who yearn for peace and equality.

 

The founders:

  • Bruria Beker, founder and past director of the Education Ministry’s “Culture Basket”;
  • David Harel, Professor, The Weizmann Institute, Israel Prize recipient, Vice President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities;
  • Dan Jacobson, Professor (emeritus) of social sciences, Tel Aviv University;
  • Zeev Raz, Colonel (ret.) ex-fighter pilot, Israel Air Force;
  • Hanoch Gutfreund, Professor of Physics, ex-President of the Hebrew University;
  • Taleb el-Sana, lawyer, co-founder of the Democratic Arab Party, past member of the Knesset and member of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel;
  • Yair Tsaban, past member of the Knesset (Mapa”m and Meretz), Minister of Integration in the Rabin government;
  • Yaniv Sagi, Director General of Givat Haviva;
  • Mia Bengel, journalist and political consultant;
  • Millet Biberman, works in art and bibiliotherapy;
  • Odeh Bisharat, writer and journalist;
  • Ro’i Yellin, communication consultant and publicist;
  • Thabet Abu Rass, PhD in political Geography, co-Director of The Abraham Initiatives
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