A Message from Zulat President Zehava Galon: The Broken Agreement

Every Memorial Day has its own list of names. The list grows every year, and especially so this year. More and more dead, more and more young people who could have been but are no more. More and more orphans, widows, families with a hole in their hearts. We call them “fallen soldiers.” Where a human being once stood, now there is nothing.

The term “fallen soldiers of the wars of Israel” is misleading. They fell in Israeli wars indeed, but we know very well that not all of them died in the defense of Israel’s security or in a war that was unavoidable. We know very well how many of them fell on the altar of misguided conceptions, showoff operations, and errors of judgment. We know very well how many of them should have still been walking among us but are not because their superiors, in the army and in the government, failed to realize the enormity of the treasure we had deposited in their hands and did not look after it as seriously as they should have.

Israelis send their children to endanger themselves for this country in the belief that their lives will not be wasted in vain. They assume that the government, the army, their unit will realize the extent of their responsibility. This is the pact that allows this country to exist, one that is obvious and requires no elaboration. Without it, there is no state and no society, only individuals.

However, we know that this pact was and continues to be violated. Seven months of a terrible and drawn-out war, without goals or plans. Israel sends its children to fight, get wounded, or die, without even having a clear plan of what to do with the territories it captured at such a steep price. The Israeli government promised that the prolonged fighting would bring back the hostages held by Hamas, but that did not happen. It gambled with the lives of the hostages and failed, but taking responsibility doesn’t even cross their minds.

Israel was founded as a state for a nation that took responsibility for its own destiny, but is now held captive by a leader who is incapable of taking responsibility for his own words. That is why this   Independence Day is so sad, because we see the terrible reversal that has occurred in recent years:  a country serving a leader instead of a leader serving his country. Nobody is surprised that one of the women who will light a torch in this year’s official ceremony on Mount Herzl named her son after Binyamin Netanyahu, just as no one was surprised that the government tried to scrap the annual Israel Prize ceremony so as not to award it to Eyal Waldman, a champion of Israel’s high-tech industry and a vocal critic of Netanyahu, whose daughter and partner were murdered at the Nova music festival on October 7.

These are not just trifles, and they have never been. This is a sad reflection of the worldview of each and every member of this government. It is the same worldview that enabled October 7, yet not even this horrific massacre has made these people suffer pangs of conscience or to change. This will be a hollow and sad Independence Day, and so will be future ones – unless we come to our senses, ditch despair, and once again set out to fight for our country.

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Dr. Maha Sabbah Karkabi

 

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Tel Aviv University (2015), a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Gender Studies, SOAS, University of London (2015-2016), a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Sociology at Tel Aviv University (2016-2017), and a postdoctoral fellowship Ph.D. at the Humphrey Institute for Social Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (2018-2020).
Dr. Maha Karbahi’s areas of interest focus on the connection between social change, family behavior, and gender inequality in societies in the process of change and specifically in Palestinian Arab society in Israel. Her research draws attention to the study of family life and employment, using a combined “ethnic lens” and “gender lens” and paying attention to the perspective of Palestinian Arab women, a group characterized by intersections between multiple marginal locations, which over the years has remained hidden from the research eye. Dr. Karkabi-Sabah’s research is published in professional journals and chapters in scientific books that are considered pioneers in family research, work, and gender equality.

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Prof. Frances Raday

Professor Emeritus in the Lieberman Chair in Labor Law, in the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University and serves as a full professor in the College of Management’s academic track, where she also serves as chair of the graduate program and as honorary president of the Concord Center for International Law Absorption. Radai was a member of a working group of the UN Human Rights Council on discrimination against women. In addition, she is a prominent and feminist human rights activist.

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Dr. Rawia Aburabia 

Faculty member of Sapir Academic College’s School of Law, received her PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her research deals with the interface between law, gender, minorities, and human rights. Has published in leading journals on the subject of the matrimonial laws pertaining to Muslim women in Israel. Her book Under the Law, Outside Justice: Polygamy, Gendered Citizenship, and Colonialism in Israeli Law is expected to be published as part of the Gender Series of Kibbutz Meuhad Publishing House.

Dr. Aburabia has extensive experience in international human rights and public law. She has worked as a jurist for the Association for Civil Right and has been invited as a specialist to address such international forums as the United Nations and the European Parliament on the subject of indigenous communities and minority rights. She has interned with Human Rights Watch in Washington DC, and has been a member of the executive board of Amnesty International. In 2018, she was selected by the magazine Globes as one of the 40 most promising young persons in Israel under the age of 40.

 

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Ron Kessler

With over two decades of experience in the field of digital content, Ron has participated in numerous political and social campaigns. He helped run the digital activity of senior public officials, and worked in various NGOs. Ron is a fundamentally optimistic man, who believes that Israel can be changed and so can people. Lives in Tel Aviv.