French Muslim Civil Leaders - December 2008

This seminar provided an opportunity to enhance understanding of Israel amongst French leaders in journalism, security, government and television. This distinguished and very diverse delegation was received by both the Israeli and Palestinian government elite, including Presidents Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas. Interesting discussions were held with members of the Israeli Knesset and officials of the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem. The group enjoyed a dinner hosted by the French Ambassador to Israel; and a visit to Haram Al Sharif. The group also visited organizations working to promote collaboration and understanding between Arabs and Jews, such as the “Bridge over the Wadi” School in Kfar Kara; and discussed relationships amongst Israeli religious and ethnic minorities with Dr. Rabbi Dov Maimon. Through briefings with Israeli military and security officials, participants came away with deeper understanding of Israel’s national and regional security concerns, while frank dialogue with Israeli journalists, NGO leaders and analysts conveyed the vitality and diversity of Israeli democracy and society.

December 14- 19, 2008 Impact

Mohamed Douhane

This trip was illuminating…we now have to light the flame of brotherhood in our country and put the candle on the table of discord. I had never experienced a trip that has been as fulfilling as this one. I will never thank AJC enough for what I discovered.

Nacer Kettane

I could not pronounce the name of the country, I would only say the “Zionist Entity” and I did not believe Hamas was a terrorist organization. Now I fully understood that Israelis have a strong commitment for peace. I thought Israel was a bossy, self-confident and dominator (sic) country. I realized that the society is in fact diverse, almost fragile, and I therefore understood its need for security. It is probably the only country in the region where, in the same city, people can attend freely to a service either in a synagogue, a mosque or a church. It would not be the case in Jerusalem if it was still under Arab domination.

Dalila Kherchouche

Before the trip, I was pro-Palestinian. Now, I am both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel, because one cannot go without the other. I discovered a very open-minded society, and a will for peace.

Rachida Belliard

The trip made profound changes in my perception of the conflict.

Jeannette Bougrab

Visiting Israel enabled me to understand myself better. Going to Yad Vashem and debating with Rachel Korazim on the Impact of the Holocaust on Israeli Society were the most touching moments. I could relate to my own suffering and to the global issue of integration of minorities, including in France. I was also fascinated by the dynamism of Israeli civil society.

Madjid El Jarroudi

It was very stimulating, it had a thorough overview of the Israeli challenges. I am now convinced that most of the Israelis want peace and the idea of a viable Palestinian state is completely accepted.

Malika Benlarbi

Meeting President Peres was one of the most touching moments of my life. I was struck by his greatness, his humanity, and the emotion he shared with us.

Fadila Mehal

I understood the complexity of the regional stakes, and the role of the neighboring countries. I was very surprised by the openness of our discussions and how open-minded is the Israeli society, that speaks with no taboo.

December 14- 19, 2008 Press

December 14- 19, 2008 Photos

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