This is Yossi’s reply to Ahmed Sa’eed from Yemen. To read Ahmed’s full response check this link

Dear Ahmed,

I hope you are keeping well in this difficult time.

Thanks so much for your wonderful letter. I was delighted to read a response from Yemen, a country that has a deep place in Israeli society and culture, especially Yemenite music and food.  The first Jewish community to move almost in its entirety to the new Jewish state were the Jews of Yemen, as you probably know. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. The Jews of Yemen always maintained an especially deep connection with the land of Israel and that can be seen in the prayers and songs of Yemenite Jewry.

I very much appreciate your generous insights and goodwill. There is, as you know, a great deal of misunderstanding about the Jewish people and Jewish history, and you touch on one of the main issues: the refusal of the Jews to assimilate and disappear into their host countries and their insistence on return to the land of Israel. That longing helped preserve us in our separate identity. I find it tragic that much of the hatred that was directed against Jews when we were a powerless minority dispersed around the world is now directed against the Jewish state. We were once despised for being powerless; now we are despised for being powerful.

I understand your hope for a single state being formed by Israelis and Palestinians. But I feel strongly that that would not be a workable solution. There is no bi-national state in the Middle East, and the multi-ethnic states (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon) are disintegrating. After a hundred years of bitter war, Palestinians and Israelis will not suddenly find the way to live together in one state – not when we can’t even agree on a border between us.

The other reason why I feel strongly that there needs to be a two-state solution rather than a single state is that the Jewish people needs one place in the world where it is the majority, and where it can preserve its culture in the public space; one place in the world where it will accept without question any Jew seeking citizenship. That is both a necessity that emerges from our hard history, and the lesson learned by minorities around the world who struggle to preserve their identity in modern times.

And so I remain deeply committed to the hope of a two-state solution. The Palestinians also deserve their own state, where their destiny can play out. The goal is for the two peoples to live as peaceful neighbors, each in their own national home.

Please tell me something about yourself, your work, your family. I would be delighted to stay in touch.


With blessings and warm regards,