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Courage Is the Ability to Say, “I Was Wrong.

6 January 2009 One Comment

Ilanit Melchoir

Ilanit Melchior


Ilanit Melchior made these remarks when she was interviewed by Patricia Smith Melton and Peace X Peace members for the book 60 Years, 60 Voices.  Melchior is Co-Director of StartUp Jerusalem. Formerly a consultant with multinational corporations, she works with business in the tourism industry to find solutions to the depressed economy. StartUp Jerusalem is an inclusive organization working with both Arabs and Jews, secular and religious.

What is courage? Courage is the ability to say, “I was wrong.” It is when leaders can look in the mirror and say. “This is not what we should have done but from this point on, we can do things differently.”

We don’t need all the mediators, the ceremonies and cameras and other people to help us. We need to get in a room and speak to each other no matter how long it takes. We must speak to each other society to society, intellectual to intellectual, journalist to journalist, man to man, and woman to woman. We must create all these circles….

Women, let’s get together, change politics, and make sure we are in a more powerful position. Maybe women have a different perspective where we can overcome conflict and change reality. We must make our voices heard together. When you lose a child, it’s not a matter of whether you are from the Palestinian side or the Jewish side. A mother is a mother.

We don’t have to shake hands even, we can just walk next to each other. It’s a cold, very realistic, pragmatic way of looking. But we must have mutual respect, and recognize that each side has its own space.

Again and again we, the Israeli people, ask Palestinians to recognize our right to exist. We have this strong fear in our Jewish essences – so many people in history have tried to eliminate us. We must overcome the fear.

At the end of the day, Jerusalem is important to three religions. I don’t want people prevented from the holiness of the city because they think it is unsafe. I want both communities not to be afraid, to look in one another’s eyes and say, “That’s a human being, I can live with him or her.” For the Palestinians, this is part of their struggle for independence. We have to build a healthy society, not based on bloodshed but in morality.

The market is the creator and founder of relationships. Jerusalem is the poorest city in Israel, young people are leaving. You find a lot of ultra-Orthodox who are not part of the working labor. We want to make sure in years to come that this will not be an empty city. And we want realistic operations between East and West Jerusalem, a reality where people respect each other and work together.

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One Comments to “Courage Is the Ability to Say, “I Was Wrong.”
  1. [...] The reality is that, yes, there are countless stories of women offering forgiveness in circumstances where to do seems impossible; situations where to withhold forgiveness would be understandable. I work with women in the midst of violent conflict and hear stories like this one all the time: “When you lose a child, it’s not a matter of whether you are from the Palestinian side or th… [...]

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