Journey From Extremist to Peacemaker

In this video learn from Yossi Klein Halevi, senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute where he co-directs the Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI), which strives to build relationships of understanding, respect, and trust between North American Muslim and Jewish communities. Klein Halevi argues that the time for Jews and Palestinians to come to the table to talk is now – whether or not they agree with each other. A respected author, Klein Halevi’s book Like Dreamers won the Jewish Book Council’s Everett Book of the Year Award and his latest release, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, is a New York Times bestseller. After watching the video, use the prompts below to learn more and get your students thinking.

  • Discussion
  • Activities
  • Further Learning
  1. Yossi Klein Halevi explains that he believes he was born into one of the most extraordinary times in Jewish history (after the Holocaust and after the rebirth of the Jewish state). What does it mean to live as a Jew after the Holocaust and after the birth of state of Israel? How is it different from the rest of Jewish history?
  2. What does Yossi mean when he says that he believes that Israel is occupying a people but not a land? Do you agree or disagree? Is this too fine of a distinction?
  3. According to Yossi, when trying to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is important to listen to each other’s stories. What do you think are the values behind listening? Why does listening matter to you? Are there times when it does and times when it doesn’t?
  4. When speaking about his book Like Dreamers, Yossi Klein Halevi says that “the way he tells the book is actually the purpose of the book.” How can the purpose of a book be achieved through the style in which it is written? What can reading differing narratives do to a reader?
  5. In the episode, Yossi explains multi-dimensional thinking with the example that being in the center politically is being both right wing and left wing at the same time. Can somebody really hold more than one idea in their head at the same time even if those ideas contradict each other? Think of some examples.
  1. In this episode of Game Changers, Yossi Klein Halevi shares a photograph of himself that holds special significance to his personal Jewish journey. Find a photograph of your own that is significant to your own Jewish journey and explain the importance of the moment.
  2. Watch our two videos about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and utilize the attached educational resources:
  3. Yossi Klein Halevi defines Judaism as a people with a religious identity tied to a land. Unlike other religions like Christianity and Islam, one is still a Jew even if they are an atheist according to Yossi. In small groups, compose your own definitions for Judaism.
  4. When asked what his answer for peace in Israel is, Yossi answers that it is “the mutual recognition of the legitimacy of each side’s maximalist claims to the entirety of the land” and that ultimately, it will be a tragedy for both sides because both sides “are going to need to partition our identity and our commitment to justice.” Do you agree with this assertion? Discuss. If not, what solution for peace in Israel would you propose?

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