At International Human Rights Day conference, Israeli minorities praise Jewish state

From right to left: Ze’ev Jabotinsky, grandson of the famous Revisionist Zionist leader; Yishai Fleisher, spokesperson of the Jewish Community of Hebron; and Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg. Credit: Koby Dovraz.

— The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu held its sixth annual Zionist Conference for Human Rights on Dec. 10 in Tel Aviv.

During the conference, which takes place annually on international Human Rights Day, Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg explained that the conference aims to underscore the unbreakable connection between Zionism and human rights, and to counter those who use the call of human rights to slander and delegitimize Israel.

The event opened with a panel on the topic of the integration of minorities in Israel and featured chairman of the Christian IDF Officers Forum, Capt. (res.) Shadi Halul; Muslim social activist Kazim Khalilieh; and Druze attorney and activist Hazar Gadben.

“There is no country that is more just than Israel,” said Halul during the panel, “which provides full and equal rights to all of its citizens. As a minority, I can testify to all the horrors that Christians experienced and continue to experience in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. But in Israel, we live freely in peace.”

Kazim Khalilieh, who presents pro-Israel lectures around the world, discussed the difficulties of advocating for Israel as a member of the Muslim community.

“It’s not easy to go against the current,” said Khalilieh. “Two years ago, my parents stopped talking to me because of my support for Israel. But that is who I am; I need to stand up for the truth.”

Hazar Gadben said “all the radical-left Jews who slander and demonize Israel need to wake up and understand that if they were the minority in Israel, they would go back to being ‘Jews with big noses’ and would be oppressed to no end.”

The panel was followed by a discussion on the topic of Israel’s legal rights, featuring Ze’ev Jabotinsky, grandson of the famous Revisionist Zionist leader, and Yishai Fleisher, spokesperson of the Jewish Community of Hebron.

The conference concluded with an award ceremony, in which Im Tirtzu’s Zionist Prize for Human Rights was awarded to social activist and bereaved father Boaz Kokia, whose son Ron was murdered last year in a terror attack, and Rabbi Arie Levy, the founder of Rescuers Without Borders, which provides medical assistance to those in need throughout the world.

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