Thursday, June 12, 2014

Politicians and the Knesset

Yesterday, our group toured the Knesset and met with two current politicians in the Knesset. The building itself was beautiful - mosaics and paintings filled the walls, and numerous windows let in ample amounts of sunlight.

The first politician we met with, Boaz Toporovsky, is a self-assured member of the centrist Yesh Atid party. Though he is the youngest male member of the Knesset, he certainly picked up on all the traits of a typical politician quickly. With an easy smile, a confident strut, and a jealousy-inspiring capability of circling around questions without giving any controversial answers, he is on his way to success in the political world.

The second member of the Knesset, Sheik Ibrahim Sarsour, is the first non-Zionist speaker we have had so far (to my knowledge.) As a non-Zionist, he believes Israel has no right to any of the land of Israel and that the entire land should belong to the Palestinians. However, his political party, Ra'am-Ta'al, has generously decided to forfeit 75% of what they believe to be Palestinian land in the hope that Israel will allow the rest to be a Palestinian state.

My commentary may sound too harsh, but it was frustrating to hear both sides claim emphatically that their only goal was peace. That is all we've heard from everyone so far - Israel has a right to this whole land, but all I want is peace! Palestine has a right to this whole land, but all I want is peace! Israel is willing to compromise, but Palestine won't because they don't want peace. Palestine will compromise, but Israel won't because they don't want peace. All these conflicting messages have lead me to one conclusion - everyone claims to want peace, but no one is willing to sacrifice for peace. Everyone believes their cause is higher than anyone else's, and therefore is capable of deluding themselves to believe that they cannot be blamed for any of the conflict.

Despite this frustrating realization, the trip to the Knesset was fascinating and enlightening. We even got to see Netanyahu walk by us as we were walking through! He waved, but the majority of us simply gaped in shock at his sudden appearance.
Outside the Knesset Building

Listening in on a vote

Tapestry inside the Knesset

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