Halevi, Issa, discuss Israel-Palestine relations

Walid Issa and Yossi Klein Halevi Photo/BrandeisNOW

Palestinian economist and educator Walid Issa (left) and American-Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi

Brandeis Hillel hosted a dialogue between American-Israeli journalist Yossi Klein Halevi and Palestinian economist and educator Walid Issa on Nov. 6.

The two longtime friends commented on the ongoing relationship between Israel and Palestine and the prospects of a two-state solution.

They also said their deep friendship can be a model for Israelis and Palestinians who might struggle to see the opposite point of view.

“We agree about many things and we disagree about many things,” said Halevi. “What we disagree about is as important as what we agree about because we’re able to model a disagreement.”

“It’s easy to model a friendship when you agree. It’s a lot harder when you’re in a life and death conflict – as we both are – and you don’t agree on who’s responsible and who’s to blame,” Halevi added.   

Issa, the Palestinian director of the American Palestinian Hope project, met Halevi through their mutual friend, Imam Abdullah Antepli, who also teaches with Halevi at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.

Halevi and Issa shared their personal experiences with the Israel-Palestine conflict, then took questions from students and faculty in attendance. The two guests also discussed how different generations view the conflict and the role young people can play in finding a solution.

“[Your] college years are the years that your identity and character is shaped and determined,” Issa said. “Your level of comfort during these years with different opinions and diversity leads to success in the future. As long as you’re able to listen and try to understand different sides and different points of view, you’ll be more successful in the future and be more effective.”

Halevi also autographed free copies of his most recent book, “Letters to my Palestinian Neighbor.”

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