• Tel Aviv

  • Tuesday, July 9, 2024 at 7:18 AM
    Last Update : Saturday, July 13, 2024 at 1:10 PM

Grassroots Movement in Israel Urges Peace and Equality Between Arab and Jews

(AWP) - The Israeli popular movement “Standing Together” has been intensifying its efforts and activities on the streets to end the war on the Gaza Strip and achieve peace and equality between Arabs and Jews inside Israel.

Founded in 2015, the group has grown over the past few years to become one of the largest Arab-Jewish grassroots movements in Israel.

The movement organizes marches and protests to oppose the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and seeks full equality between Arabs and Jews within Israel.

A member of the movement, Oren Shafir, said, “We want partnership between Arabs and Jews in this state and this is how the state will become a democracy.”

He added, “There is no democracy with such occupation. There is no democracy without the Arab community and the leftist positions that call for peace.”

Another member of the movement, Sally Abad, pointed to several problems facing Arabs in Israeli society, noting, “There is a community that is suffering from crime and weapons that has taken the lives of 18 Arab citizens since the beginning of the year due to violence, organized crime and from brutal and politicized police, even here in Haifa.”

She added, “We believe that the police should be at the service of all citizens who live here and share in our future. We are here to fight for the integrity of this community and the two groups of people living here.”

Ouded Bilvan, a university professor who supports the Standing Together movement, stressed “the need for achieving complete equality” despite the control of hard-line Jewish parties over the Israeli government.

He said, “The Nation-State law [specifying Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people] has made things more difficult and harmed the Arab community inside Israel. There is an official responsible for the West Bank, [Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel] Smotrich, and an official for the police, [Israeli National Security Minister] Itamar Ben-Gvir and this makes things even harder.” 
“We see that the Arabs do not enjoy the same rights that exist for the Jews,” he concluded.

Standing Together is a movement primarily spread in several major cities and their universities, such as Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.