It was a very political week for the Israeli-Democratic Alliance - from the announcement of U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Israel to meeting with the Chair of the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, MK Ram Ben-Barak. But this week started with an equally important, equally political event - meeting a delegation of progressive leaders, brought to Israel by AIPAC.
The meeting was very informal (as the picture shows), but the conversation was very serious. We handled some difficult questions: from how can one be a both a Zionist and a liberal (of course you can), to what's the difference between the Zionist aspiration to keep the Jewish majority in Israel and Republican attempts to maintain a white majority in the U.S. (of course there is).
It was not an easy conversation - but it was productive. It was productive because none of us tried to hide our criticism of things that happen in Israel: Tal Hochman, government relations director in the Israel Women's Network, talked about the Networks effort to make abortions more accessible. Adv. Almog Dayan, Founder of the Justice Rainbow Forum - lawyers for LGBT rights and CEO of the LGBT Sports Club Israel, talked about the representation of the LGBT community in the Knesset. I talked about how, unfortunately, there is no immediate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but there is still so much to do that can improve our lives, Israelis and Palestinians alike.
And that's how you build a bridge: by focusing on our mutual values, while not ignoring the issues on which we disagree. Focusing on our mutual values and the efforts we lead to promote them is what enables us not just to engage in a deep, critical, and comprehensive dialogue about Israel, the conflict, and our relations with the United States, but to also make our societies - Israeli and American - better, freer, and more just.
And that's why we are here.