April 6, 2021


Dear Mr. Halevi,

I recently had the honor of reading your book, Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor. The first thing that caught my attention was the title; the seemingly simple designation of the Palestinian people as your neighbors is a powerful declaration of love, appreciation, and familiarity. It also acknowledges a sense of belonging to the same land, area, and spatial entity. This, for me, set the tone for the book from which I took away three key points that I believe should guide future conversations between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples.

First, Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor highlights the importance of working towards mutual understanding. Both sides have to accept at least some responsibility to learn about and understand the other, be it culturally, historically, or religiously. Your statement that peace cannot endure without such work really resonated with me. True peace is achieved when individuals change their mindsets and ideas, irrespective of government policies or treaties. It is through this concept of a loving peace, something that is constantly worked towards, that I believe offers a common starting point.

Secondly, I found your writing to be strikingly fair, objective, rational, and thoughtful. Activating such logical thinking is critical in decision-making, especially when a situation is so inherently emotionally charged on both sides. We should not be the “living incarnations of each other’s worst, historical nightmares.” The energy that we oftentimes put into questioning others’ thoughts and motives can be better allocated towards the work of mutual understanding in the manner discussed above.

Finally, I agree with the notion that love of country and pride in one’s identity should never stop us from conducting self-reflection. Being a proud Israeli, Palestinian, Moroccan, or American, for example, does not give one license to be complacent in the duty of self-analysis. In fact, love of country should encourage us to discern the “better angels” of our own identities, bringing about growth and change.

Our complex, multifaceted, and often misunderstood lives are, indeed, “entwined.” I personally believe that, for long-lasting change of individual mindsets, one must be exposed to structured opportunities of interaction that enable people to get to know one another and build relationships. Then, we can attain a true recognition of this state of being intertwined. I am thrilled to begin conducting this work through my new organization, the Moroccan-Israeli Friendship Association (MIFA), and I hope that we can connect to discuss the potential for working together in the future. 



Mustapha Ezzarghani

Co-Founder and President, Moroccan-Israeli Friendship Association