Arab leadership’s vitriol and the Palestinian education system’s messages of hatred and death stand in the way of progress in Israeli society. But things can improve.

Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post reported a case of vandalism at the Hand in Hand school in Jerusalem, which is attended by both Jewish and Arab students. The school’s mission is to expose Jewish and Arab students to each other, teaching them that they do not have to be enemies, they can co-exist. The strategy appears to be working.

The day after the vandalism, which included both graffiti and arson, the students shared with the press that this incident reinforced the importance of their efforts. External pressure from any direction will not change what is being accomplished at the school, they said.

Through slanted reporting, the mainstream media continues to portray to the world that peace within a Jewish Israel is impossible. The media promotes a message that peace cannot be achieved without dividing the land of Israel, and that Arab citizens cannot enjoy equality within a Jewish state.

But this is a fallacy, a fiction devised to accomplish other nefarious goals. The end result is that Israel is forced into agreements that put her in an untenable security situation.

No Violence or Terror: Living Side by Side

While the mainstream media doesn’t frequently report on coexistence in Israeli society, the Hand in Hand school is not alone. Take Ariel, for example, a community in Samaria that is home to Ariel University, which hosts a diverse student body including Jews, Druze, Circassians and Arabs. According to the Palestine News Network, Arab and Druze students at the university report that there is no racism at the school, which has signed academic cooperation agreements with over 51 higher education institutions from a diverse sampling of nations, including several Arab states and Turkey.

Coexistence is not limited to education, as Jews and Arabs frequently shop in the same stores. Before the second intifada, which began in 2000, Jewish residents who lived north of Jerusalem would frequently shop in Ramallah, entry to which is now completely forbidden to Jews.

In Gush Etzion, the site of several recent terror attacks, including the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers early this summer as well as multiple car terror attacks and stabbings, a large grocery store called Rami Levy serves residents from surrounding areas. Arabs and Jews work side by side at the store, serving customers who are equally diverse. Hijab, mitpachat (Jewish headscarf) and bare heads alike shop side by side without any violence.

Ending Arab Incitement and Attacks

How is this coexistence possible? It has been proven time and again that people will behave when they are given strong leadership, positive role models, and a legal framework with clear consequences. What’s the key? It all comes from the top – responsible leadership.

Despite the good news about coexistence in Israeli society, Israel’s very existence continues to be threatened. Violent attacks mount as Arabs in Israel are incited by Muslim extremist leadership that continues to brainwash others into thinking that violence is the only way. For peace to be achieved, it has to start at the top.

As long as Arab leaders continue their vitriol and the Palestinian education system continues to teach a curriculum of hatred and death, things will not get better. But they can. Israeli sovereignty over all the land of Israel and support from the West is a start. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority need to be told in no uncertain terms that they will not receive any outside financial aid until they stop using it to advance terror and violence.

The PA is funded by the US and the European Union. We MUST end this. Click here to sign our Petition demanding that the United States and European Union stop funding the Palestinian Authority.

Author: Penina Taylor, United with Israel