Shifts in Perspective - Peres/Rabin legacy

Conversation Guide
Communications and safe space agreement (5 minutes)
Ice-breaker (5 minutes)
Part 1: Who were Peres and Rabin? (15 minutes)
Part 2: The Peres and Rabin Legacy (20 minutes)
Part 3: A (pro-active) shift in perspective (10 minutes)
Final words (5 minutes)

Note that the times above are given as a guide, and hopefully they will be useful to
ensure that nobody has to leave before the conversation is finished!
Don’t let us stop you if, like the Rabbis of old1 , you wish to talk until the morning ;)

1

From the Hagada: ​"It happened that Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya, Rabbi
Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon gathered together (for the Seder) in Bnai Brak. They spoke and
elucidated regarding the departure from Egypt for that entire night, until their students
announced: 'Masters, it is time to recite the morning Shema'."

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Communications and safe space agreement (5 minutes)
This agreement2 is designed to facilitate open conversations, and to ensure that all feel
safe and welcome to express their ideas and views. It should not be used to stifle
discussion.
Anyone at the table can feel free to refer back to the agreement where needed to
maintain the sense of a safe space for conversation.
Participants take turns reading one point each.
1. We speak for ourselves, not as representatives of any group. We won’t ask others
to represent, defend or explain an entire group. ​We begin statements with “I”​,
rather than “we” or “you”.
2. We ​avoid making broad generalisations ​and grand pronouncements. Instead, we
will connect what we know and believe to our experiences and to particular sources
of information.
3. We ​express our different viewpoints in a thoughtful manner ​and without an
insulting spirit- our goals are learning and reflection. We may respectfully disagree
with others, but resist the urge to persuade them to agree with “our side”.
4. We ​listen with resilience​, “hanging in” when we hear something that is hard to hear.
Take personal time if you find that you are no longer able to listen with a clear mind
and an open heart.
5. We ​share airtime ​and refrain from interrupting others, except to indicate that we
cannot hear a speaker. We will participate within the timeframes suggested by the
facilitators, and accede gracefully if there is not enough time to continue.
6. We may always ​“pass” ​or ​“pass for now” ​if we are not ready or would prefer not to
respond to a question. No explanation will be required for passing.
7. All conversations are confidential​. Outside of this group, we won’t attribute
particular statements to particular individuals by name or other identifying
information without explicit permission.
8. We ​offer ​the benefit of the doubt and avoid making negative attributions about the
beliefs and motives of other participants. Instead, we will test our assumptions by
asking questions that represent genuine curiosity.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

2

Adapted with from the NIF’s “Food for Thought: A New Gen Shabbat Dinner Series” guide, which
was originally adapted from the 2004 Public Conversations Project, Watertown, MA.

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Ice-breaker (5 minutes)
Keep it simple – this is just an opportunity for people at the table to get to know a little
bit about each other, and to start us off by ensuring everyone has a chance to be
heard.
Ask each participant to give their name, and what drew them to tonight’s discussion?
Does anyone have any background knowledge about Rabin or Peres? (This will help
guide the level of the discussion).

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Part 1: Who were Peres and Rabin? (15 minutes)
This section is an interactive way to settle everyone into tonight’s topic, and give
some background information on Peres and Rabin.
Everyone will be given 8 events involving either Peres or Rabin. Working in pairs
they will have a couple of minutes to chronologically order the events for
Peres and Rabin.
For the activity there will be no dates or names included.
PERES
1950’s - aligned with France and Britain
to develop Israel’s nuclear weapons
program

RABIN
1940’s –imprisoned for several
months during the mid-1940s for
activities against British interests.

1993 – signed Oslo Accord with Rabin
and Arafat

1964 – became chief of staff of the
army. Shaped and organized the
country's military to win the Six-Day
War of 1967

1996 – approved the Lebanese
offensive to try end shelling by
Hezbollah. Over 100 Lebanese civilian
casualties in Qana shelling.

1992 – re-elected as PM. Vowed to
break long held positions regarding
peace with Israelis and Arabs in
general and with Palestinians in
particular.

2009 – relocated the Peres centre for
peace to Jaffa. Focused on a vision for
Agriculture and Water; Business and 
Economics; Civil Leadership;
Community Programs in Jaffa; Culture,
Media and Arts,  Medicine and
Healthcare; Social Media, IT; Sport.

1995 – assassinated by Yigal Amir,​an
extremist religious Jew opposed to his
peace deals with the Palestinians

Go through the correct timeline. "Bonus points" if guests know the correct dates.
Ask guests to consider the following:
- Do any events stand out and why?
- What are the similarities/differences that you can see between Peres and
Rabin? How may this have affected their political careers?

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Part 2: The Peres and Rabin Legacy (20 minutes)
This section of the evening is a more interactive discussion.
1. First, split the table into two groups. Hand one group copies of the attached article
titled “As a peacemaker, Shimon Peres never won over the Israeli public”, and the
other group copies of ​“Twenty years on, what would have happened had Rabin
lived”.
2. Allow a few minutes for everyone to read the article.
3. Once everyone has finished reading, allow some minutes for discussion within
each group.
4. Each group should nominate one member to summarise their discussion for the
whole table.
5. Now that everyone is back together, take some time to discuss how people feel
about the articles.

What do you remember about these people? Did these articles change any
of your opinions? What do you think are the most important political
legacies that Rabin and Peres left behind?

How did their ideologies change?

How did the Israeli public react to the path that Rabin and Peres took?
(especially good to ask any Israelis at the table!)

Peres tried for 20 more years to try and bring in peace. How are we closer?
How are we further?

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Part 3: A (pro-active) shift in perspective (10 minutes)
A number of high level Israeli politicians have changed their views on how to achieve
peace during their political lifetime. Have a short discussion on why the shift in
perspective may occur? What instigates it? Why is it important? Which examples of other
Israeli politicians do you know of?

e.g. 1) Ariel Sharon who was a right wing Likud leader, who helped build the
separation wall, and was responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacres in
Lebanon, yet led the withdrawal from Gaza. His legacy is controversial but
when he got sick he was working towards an agreement with the Palestinians.
***Those hosting can pre-read this article for more context. This article should
not be read out to the group ​http://ab.co/2fNSPHo
e.g 2) Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel. Navigated declaring Israel as a
state (giving up the idea that Jews would receive all of the promised land) and
the Independence War that ensued. Personally authorized forcible expulsion
of thousands of Arabs from Ramle and Lydda in 1948. Still ​maintained that
the Arabs of Palestine were entitled to the same right of self-determination as
the Jews. Initiated i​nitiated talks with regional Arab leaders toward
establishing peace in the Middle East during his final years in office
(1955-1963)
***Those hosting can pre-read this article for more context. This article should not
be read out to the group ​http://bit.ly/2g8sKam
Have you noticed any change in your own views on how to achieve peace? What part do
you feel you play in the shift in perspective - as an individual, and as part of the
Australian Jewish community.

Fellows who visited peace NGOs in Israel can add how those organisations are
contributing at the moment – keeping the hope of Peace and idea that it's within
reach in the general public's mind (e.g. BTS, ACRI, Tag Meir, Shatil, Yad b’Yad
schools).

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Final words (5 minutes)
Part A
It’s all too easy to feel the doom and gloom when you think about the
Israeli/Palestinian peace process. But that was not the purpose of this discussion.
Just like Peres and Rabin took steps towards peace with a changed mindset, it
should always be in our minds too.
To finish off with some inspiration and bring home the message that as individuals our
thoughts and actions can play a part in the peace process, ​hand out the article on
the recent women’s march to peace​.
Part B
To wrap up and help guests collect their thoughts, here are some concluding
questions. Ensure that everyone has the opportunity for a final word.
1. What is one question that you will take with you from this conversation?
2. In one word or short phrase, what will you take home from the conversation?

Shabbat shalom!

!‫שבת שלום‬

EXTRA ARTICLES
Some more information on the political lives Peres and Rabin.
● http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/28/opinions/shimon-peres-legacy-miller/in
dex.html
● http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-one-Rabins-true-legacy-430524
● https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/shimon-peres-israel-foundi
ng-father-by-itamar-rabinovich-2016-09
● http://www.biography.com/people/shimon-peres-9437514#synopsis
Extra Information
- May be interesting to share when going through the table.
- Peres died recently. 21 years since Rabin was assassinated.
- Peres never fought in the IDF. Rabin fought pre 1948 and during the
Independence war. Rabin's successful military contribution resulted in
his nickname Mr Security.
- Peres never won an election – he was always acting PM. Rabin was the
first sabra (Israeli -born) PM (1974 – after Golda Meir resigned). Rabin
signed the Sinai Interim Agreement and ordered the Entebbe raid.
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New Israel Fund Grantees

TAG MEIR
Strengthening shared society and combatting racism
Tag Meir (Light Tag) is a grassroots organization founded in 2011 which works against racism in
Israel. Tag Meir sees the battle against racism as also a part of a campaign to support
democratic values, and the very traditional Jewish values of loving our neighbours and justice for
all. The organisation transcends religious divides, enlisting support from across the Israeli
spectrum. The name Tag Meir was coined in response to the name ‘Tag Mechir’ (Price Tag).

ASSOCIATION FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN ISRAEL (ACRI)
Safeguarding human rights and democratic infrastructure

Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) was established in 1972, and is Israel’s oldest and
largest human rights organization and the only one dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and
civil liberties issues in Israel and the West Bank. An independent and non-partisan organization,
ACRI is committed to promoting the universality of human rights and defending the human rights
and civil liberties of all, regardless of religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, political affiliation,
sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background. Since its inception, ACRI has been consistently
successful in bringing precedent-setting litigation to the Supreme Court and has contributed
significantly to the protection of human rights in Israel and in the West Bank.

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THE PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE WORKSHOP (‘Hasadna’)
Safeguarding Human Rights and Democratic Infrastructure

The Public Knowledge Workshop - Hasadna LeYeda Tziburi - is a non-profit, non-partisan
organisation that was founded in 2011. Its mission is to allow the public to engage more
meaningfully with Israeli government and public interest data by making it more accessible to the
public. This is achieved with the support of hundreds of volunteers who are engaged in “civic
coding” on open source platforms (a form of coding which is open for everyone to use, share and
develop upon). The volunteers develop websites and apps that are openly available to the general
public that present and analyze this data. This transforms government data into public knowledge
and empowers public participation.Examples of government data examined include Knesset voting
records, and national budget information.

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Aligned with France and Britain to
develop Israel’s nuclear weapons
program.

Imprisoned for several months for
activities against British interests.

Signed Oslo Accord with Rabin and
Arafat.

Became chief of staff of the army.
Shaped and organized the country's
military to win the Six-Day War of 1967.

Approved the Lebanese offensive to try
end shelling by Hezbollah. Over 100
Lebanese civilian casualties in Qana
shelling.

Re-elected as PM. Vowed to break long
held positions regarding peace with
Israelis and Arabs in general and with
Palestinians in particular.

Relocated Peace Centre to Jaffa.
Focused on a vision for Agriculture and
Water; Business and Economics; Civil
Leadership; Community Programs in
Jaffa; Culture, Media and
Arts, Medicine and Healthcare; Social
Media, IT; Sport.

Assassinated by Yigal Amir, ​an
extremist religious Jew opposed to his
peace deals with the Palestinians.

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