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 with the response until I am back. I kept reading your letter. 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 it, making me aware 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 met yet but we could have been made of the same cloth.

The question for me is what should we do next? We agree with each other but we need 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, which brings in our common humanity. 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 want 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 a 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,

Elham

PD Dr. Elham Manea
Privatdozentin
Institute for Political Science
University of Zurich