An Arab Israeli woman casts her ballot in Israel. (Roy Alima/Flash90) (Roy Alima/Flash90)
Israeli Arabs

Minorities living in Israel celebrated the Jewish state’s existence on international Human Rights Day.

By: United with Israel Staff

Minorities living in Israel chose to praise – not condemn – Israel as the world marked the international Human Rights Day observed every year on 10 December.

The day marks the date the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year, Human Rights Day marks its 70th anniversary.

The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu held its 6th annual Zionist Conference for Human Rights on Monday in Tel-Aviv, which takes place annually on international Human Rights Day.

During the conference, Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg explained that the conference aims to underscore the unbreakable connection between Zionism and human rights and to counter those who use the call of human rights to slander and delegitimize Israel.

The event opened with a panel on the topic of the integration of minorities in Israel and featured chairman of the Christian IDF Officers Forum, Captain (res.) Shadi Halul, Muslim social activist, Kazim Khalilieh, and Druze attorney and activist Hazar Gadben.

‘No Country More Just Than Israel’

“There is no country that is more just than Israel, which provides full and equal rights to all of its citizens., Halul said during the panel. “As a minority, I can testify to all the horrors that Christians experienced and continue to experience in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt – but in Israel, we live freely in peace.”

Approximately 20 percent of Israel’s eight million citizens are Arabs. According to the Israeli Democracy Index, a public opinion survey conducted last year by the Israeli Democratic Institute and the Guttman Center for Surveys, 65% of Israeli-Arabs are proud to be Israeli.

Israel is the only safe haven for Christians in the Middle East, while their numbers diminish as a result of Muslim persecution in all other areas of the region.

Kazim Khalilieh, who presents pro-Israel lectures around the world, discussed the difficulties of advocating for Israel as a member of the Muslim community.

“It’s not easy to go against the current,” said Khalilieh. “Two years ago, my parents stopped talking to me because of my support for Israel. But that is who I am. I need to stand up for the truth.”

Hazar Gadben called on those who slander Israel to “wake up.”

“All the radical-left Jews who slander and demonize Israel need to wake up and understand that if they were the minority in Israel, they would go back to being ‘Jews with big noses’ and would be oppressed to no end.”

The conference concluded with an award ceremony. Im Tirtzu’s Zionist Prize for Human Rights went to social activist and bereaved father Boaz Kokia, whose son Ron was murdered last year in a terror attack, and Rabbi Arie Levy, the founder of Rescuers Without Borders, which provides medical assistance to those in need throughout the world.

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