Volunteers from the Jewish, Arab and Druze national civic service attended a joint multicultural ceremony to commemorate Jewish victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
National Civic Service in Israel is a voluntary alternative for those who do not serve in the Israel Defense Forces, consisting primarily of Religious Zionist women and Arab Israelis.
The event was organized by Professor Zehavit Gross, who heads the Sal Van Gelder Center for Holocaust Research and Instruction at Bar-Ilan University and represents the Higher Education Council on the National Service Council.
The aim of the event was to create solidarity among all groups within Israeli society, using the memory of the Holocaust as a link to create greater empathy and tolerance, and to draw attention to human rights.
As the memory of the Holocaust has faded in recent years, especially among the younger generation, Dr. Gross says that the national service experience serves as a unique opportunity to address that problem and educate oneself about human suffering and human rights.
Attending the event were Jewish and Arab volunteers from the Federation of Young Students and Workers, also known as Young Workers and Scholars, as well as members of the Zionist religious youth movements Ariel, Ezra and Bnei Akiva, and the Druze Youth Movement.
“Organizing a joint event for Jewish, Arab and Druze Israelis is a first step towards building social and civic resilience and strengthening Israeli democracy”, said Dr. Gross, who is also ICJW’s Co-Chair of Jewish Education.
Lilian M. Bosboom,
ICJW Chair of Communications and PR