The Jewish People must build on the sense of unity that developed following the kidnapping of the three Israeli boys whose murder helped to precipitate last summer’s conflict with Gaza, the mother of one them said at a meeting at World ORT this week.
Bat-Galim Shaer, whose son, Gil-ad, was killed together with his friends, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel, in June last year was in London to promote Unity Day, an annual event associated with the Jerusalem Unity Prize in Memory of Eyal, Gilad & Naftali, both of which were founded by the families together with the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, and Gesher.
“Our enemies always remind us that we have to be together and if we’re not then they destroy us. This summer has also been a very hard summer and we feel that if we’re not together then it will be a tragedy. In the current situation we feel the same, that we need to be together; it’s very relevant. I think Am Yisrael is not in the same place it was before last summer – people are more tolerant, they’re more aware of the need for unity, they want unity,” said Ms Shaer. “We have six or seven million Jews in Israel but there’s six or seven million around the world and together that’s a big power and we have to give strength to each other. We have no other choice.”
Students at World ORT schools were among thousands of people in Israel and internationally who undertook special educational, artistic and social activist projects for the inaugural Unity Day. The meeting with Ms Shaer and Anat Schwarz Weil, Director of the Jerusalem Unity Prize, moved the ORT professionals and lay leaders present to want to do more for this year’s Unity Day.
“The families say, ‘In the 18 days we spent looking for our boys in the end we found ourselves.’ That is the message of what we’re trying to do. We found ourselves and now we need to take responsibility, not just to talk unity but to do unity,” said Ms Schwarz Weil.
She added: “We say unity not uniformity. This is very important we don’t want everyone to be the same but just to respect each other. Just come as you, be yourself and respect, it’s all about respect.”
More information about Unity Day and educational resources for use on the day are available from the Jerusalem Unity Prize website:http://unityprize.org/en.