Zulat President Zehava Galon and Executive Director Einat Ovadia at Geneva Initiative’s Peace and Democracy Conference

The Geneva Initiative’s Peace and Democracy Conference was held in Tel Aviv on 10 March 2023 in the spirit of the public’s awakening in the struggle for the future of the country. Consisting of four sessions on the opportunities presented by the crisis, Zulat President Zehava Galon addressed the session on “The Political Opportunity” and Executive Director Einat Ovadia addressed the session on “The Media Opportunity.”

Galon said: “This conference is taking place against the backdrop of yesterday’s murderous terror attack on Dizengoff Street. Proposals will again be hurled on how to deal with terrorism, band-aid solutions as long as the reality remains unchanged. Two populations live here side by side, with each other, and inside each other but with separate legal systems. The ultimate goal of this government is twofold: a regime revolution within the State of Israel and an apartheid revolution, Netanyahu’s desire to change the checks and balances between the three branches of powcer and Smotrich’s desire not only for Israel to annex the territories but for the territories to annex Israel and turn it into the State of Judea with Jewish supremacy and racial laws. This is what lies at the root of his apartheid revolution.

“Our job is to expose the big picture. When the Knesset passes a bill that re-legitimizes illegal outposts in northern Samaria in order to allow settlers to move freely in these areas, this is the apartheid revolution. When Smotrich is placed in charge of the Civil Administration, this constitutes not only de facto but de jure annexation, which is part of the overall concept of an apartheid revolution in the territories. When 400 settlers set fire to homes and their inhabitants in a horrible pogrom in Huwarah and Smotrich issues a feeble condemnation, the green light is given to some other group to raid the village and to IDF soldiers who have grown used to standing idly by during 56 years of rule over millions of Palestinians to dance with the rioters on the main street because that is the spirit blowing from the top.

“People are taking to the streets today and that’s exciting, it makes me optimistic and makes me believe that we will win. But when talking about the damage to Israeli democracy, we must understand that everything is connected. Those who want to annex the Palestinians and exclude the Arab citizens of Israel from the political game will not stop at oppression. They will crush and terrorize Israel’s watchdogs, democratic institutions, gatekeepers, media, and academia so they do not raise their heads. If we don’t want to become the North Korea of the Middle East, we must look at the entire picture and say: ‘There is no democracy with occupation.'”

Executive Director Einat Ovadia addressed the role of the opposition: “The opposition has the ability to influence the public discourse, so that the protest may continue and bring about change. It should be a compass and a conscience at a time when we have lost our path and our conscience. It must allow for a protest that is not exclusively Jewish, starting with the leader of the opposition who must stop checking whether his steps gain him political capital and thus miss the point. A leader is needed who can put the past behind him, and invite Ayman Odeh to join meetings of the opposition rather than exclude him.

“Everyone has the right to protest however they want. If I oppose the occupation, I still have a place in this protest. The next woman leader is now marching in the streets and we don’t know yet that she is our leader. If the current leadership does not legitimize protesting however people want, then we will not make a change here and boundaries will be set for us as to what is a right protest or a wrong one.”

Wacth the videos (Hebrew, no subtitles):




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.


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.


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.



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.