Points of Views
From Jerusalem
Points of Views
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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


"We, the secular Jerusalemites,

One cannot deny the challenges a city such as Jerusalem faces in which two-thirds of the population (Arabs and ultra-Orthodox) are typically not raised according to the classic Israeli narrative shared by the majority of the Israeli population. This diversity poses great challenges to all of the city's populations; it especially pertains to the secular population, which enjoys an absolute majority in the rest of the country. However, this unique situation offers the secular Jerusalemites the opportunity to fully live out their secular lives more so than their counterparts in other cities in Israel. […]

In Jerusalem, you get to experience real pluralism, for all its degrees and downfalls. In this city, you are constantly exposed to other populations—in the workplace, in the supermarket, on public transportation. It is not a coincidence that in recent years, Jerusalem, the diverse city, has engendered the presence of groundbreaking entrepreneurs from all its communities.

We, the secular Jerusalemites, are the reference point for all those fighting for equal rights within their own societies. We are the mirror to which they design their reflective perceptions: how to maintain their lifestyle while simultaneously transforming their communities into a better place. This to me is the essence of secularity: Not a strict secular lifestyle that only accepts those whom adopt all secular values, but an open, pluralistic secularism that accepts others despite difficulties and that exposes others, especially those from more conservative communities, to a more liberal and egalitarian alternative. We call it 'Jerusalemite secularism.'

We have many more obstacles to face in order to transform our city into a place where all communities cooperate with one another for the benefit of all residents, but we have no other option: According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics’ demographic forecasts, in 50 years, all of Israel's demography will look much like Jerusalem's demography today. […] Thus, the models we build and practice today concerning the relations between different communities in Jerusalem will affect the entire State of Israel. Secular Jerusalemites are crucial players in this journey. I would not rush to eulogize us: We still have much more to offer this city."

– Lior Schillat, Director General of the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research in Ynet English

#Secular #Society #Coexistence #Tolerance