This is Dr. Manea’s second response to Yossi’s letter to her. If you would like to read Dr. Manea’s first response to the book click here.


Dear Yossi,

I received your letter last Sunday and was touched by its honest words. I cherished it. On the same day, I was leaving for a week of workshops in Austria and decided to wait on responding until my return. I kept reading your letter over and over. You have a way of writing that makes me want to know more. My visit to Israel has shown me a humane side of Israel; your words only reinforce that, making me aware of the fact that I should learn more about the Jewish tradition.  We know very little about each other and what we know is often formed by hate and lies. It is time to change that.

I agree with you; we do need more of this partnership. We need more of this hope, goodwill and perseverance. And, yes, I consider you a friend. We have not yet met, but we could have been cut from the same cloth.

As far as I am concerned, however, the outstanding question now is what should we do next? We agree with one another but we still need to persuade that critical mass that can bring a change in hearts and minds. The fear, mistrust and hate (we have a lot of that, I am afraid) can only be countered by planned measures for the purpose of bringing out common humanity, to replace the     If only we could teach our children to trust in that common humanity. We tend to forget that those whom we consider enemies are humans; vulnerable, just like us. They seek love, safety and a future for themselves and their children. Extremism does not believe in that humanity. It believes in tribalism. “Your” people and “my” people and never the twain shall meet. But they should meet.

I will be glad to come to Israel and meet you. I would love to be invited to your place for dinner  but this discussion has to move beyond exchanging letters to concrete actions that translate that vision of hope to reality. Perhaps we should start with an Initiative for Peace in the Middle East, driven by those who want to see a region where all live together in peace and prosperity – a Middle East where Israel is considered a neighbor and a friend.

Until we meet in person, here is to you dear Yossi, dear friend.

Warm regards,


PD Dr. Elham Manea

Institute for Political Science
University of Zurich