Who are we?
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Tamar Gur
One of the movement's founders
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Nir Yanovsky
Member of the Board of Directors
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Aviad Shmila
Chairperson of the Board of Directors
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Israel Piekarsh  Movement's CEO
Israel Piekarsh – the movement's CEO

Israel Piekarsh was born in Netanya and now lives in Alon-Shvut, Gush Etzion. He graduated from Bnei-Akiva and from Yeshivat Hesder Orot Shaul. Served as a combat soldier in the Armored Corps; he holds a master's degree in international relations from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he made the Dean's list. His master's thesis was about the peace negotiation between Israel and the Palestinian authority in 2000. He served as a moderator in discussion groups about Israeli society in Officers' Course in Training Base 1 on behalf of Gesher Association, and as an instructor at the Knesset and the Supreme Court on behalf of the Centers for Citizenship and Democracy Studies. He coordinated the ultra-orthodox school curriculum on behalf of the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem. He serves as an instructor of IDF leadership and values workshops at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, as well as a tour guide on Mount Herzl on behalf of the World Zionist Organization.

 

 

Why did I join the Anahnu movement?

 

When I served as a tank team fighter in Gaza Strip during the disengagement from Gaza, I saw the Israeli society being torn from within. Through the military binoculars I also saw the Palestinians suffering under the occupation and the terrorist system embedded in the population. The morning after the withdrawal from Gaza Strip I watched the smoke coming out of the synagogues that were left behind and torched by the Palestinians. The frustration I felt led me to a long personal quest which lasted ten years, in which I deeply got to know many Israelis: ultra-orthodox, secular, religious and Palestinians, from right and left. I realized it was vital to find a new way to obtain security, freedom and equality and prevent a rift in the nation, and further suffering for Jews and Palestinians alike. That is why I joined the founding team of Anahnu movement.

Aviad Shmila - Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Aviad Shmila was born in Kiryat-Ata and currently lives in Efrat. He graduated from Bnei-Akiva and from Yeshivat Hesder Orot Shaul. He served as a combat medic in the Armored Corps. He has been ordained as a rabbi and is a graduate of the Rabbinical Studies program at Yeshivat Har Etzion. He also has a mediation certificate and a Master's degree in Jewish philosophy from Bar-Ilan University.  His master's thesis was about Rabbi Kook's interpretation of the Guide to the Perplexed. He is currently engaged in Torah teaching.

Why did I join the Anahnu movement?

During my military service I was assigned to protect settlements in Gush Etzion. The long watches and night patrols in the field made me wonder: would we ever be able to lead normal lives with the Palestinians?! From there I went on personal quest, in which I deepened my acquaintance with Israeli society in its various shades. I reached the conclusion that no group in Israeli society has come up with a vision that would lead to a long-term, broad social consensus, or to leading normal lives alongside the Palestinians. The political ideas in Israeli society contradict one another in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, and in the field of religion and state. The status-quo is often a false representation which covers up the growing remoteness between parts of Israeli society. This remoteness has severe practical implications, such as extremism on all sides of the political map, the use of coercion, assimilation, and mostly the loss of the ability to carry out a dialogue between the various groups. We are in danger.

I cannot accept the lack of long-term thinking. Statements like "it'll be all right" or "with God's help everything will be fine" cannot stand alone. We have already been taught by most Judaism scholars throughout the generations that God only helps those who try to help themselves. Anahnu movement proposes innovative ideas combined with secure and measured social growth, for the solution of internal and external problems. That is why I joined the founding team of Anahnu movement.

Nir Yanovsky – a member of the Board of Directors

Nir is a graduate of Hashomer Hatzair youth movement and the interdisciplinary program for outstanding students at Tel-Aviv University. His master's thesis in behavioral economics was about the effect of cultural differences on economic behavior in Israel. Today he is a Jerusalem activist in every aspect of his life: he is a member of a young community called Rimon that lives and volunteers in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood; he served as a volunteer chairman of Yuvalim Community Council and he currently leads inhabitants' initiative to promote urban and community renewal. In the last 25 years Nir has been active in numerous peace movements in the Israeli Palestinian arena, and was one of the founders of a movement called "Jerusalem inhabitants' letter: compromise in Jerusalem for the sake of Jerusalem".

Why did I join the Anahnu movement?

 

I grew up in the torn Jerusalem of the 1990s, and in my youth I initiated and participated in innumerable demonstrations, information campaigns and dialog seminars, trying to bring the idea of a political agreement closer to the Jerusalem public. However, the peace camp to which I belong has failed in its struggle for the heart of Israeli society, and I watched hope give way to radicalization and violence.

 

Today I am the father of two small children who grow up in a different Jerusalem than the one I had dreamed of. A Jerusalem in which the tension between the various streams of Judaism disintegrates Jewish society from within and the tension between Israelis and Palestinians may erupt at any moment into unrestrained violence. In this reality, I feel compelled to provide my children with a chance for a different future, in which Jerusalem will fulfil its vocation as a center of tolerance, multiculturalism and joint creation.

 

My personal journey has led me to realize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the inner tensions within Israeli society cannot be resolved by arm wrestling between the left and right in Israel, between secular and religious Jews, or between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. After years of social and community work in areas detached from the conflict, I realized that only partnership between the various tribes that make up Israeli society could extract Israel from the mess in which it is wallowing. I found this partnership in the Anahnu movement, which seeks to resolve the fundamental tensions that disintegrate Israeli society, and work to create a new Israeli consensus.

Tamar Gur – one of the movement's founders

Tamar is 31 years old; she was born in Haifa and currently lives in Bat Shlomo. She has a B.Ed. from the Institute for Democratic Education, a B.A. in history and bible from Seminar Hakibutzim, and an M.A. With honors from the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at the University of Haifa. Tamar was ordained as an Israeli rabbi at the Reform Movement's Institute for Jewish Studies (Hebrew Union College).

 

Over the years Tamar has taken part in various leadership groups like Israel Youth Award that prepares young people for public service and the President's Forum, a forum of young leaders who had worked alongside the late President Peres. Tamar has worked and guided over the years projects on identity and society, religion and state, pluralistic schools of Torah study and integrative schools. Today, she serves as a cantor and a prayer leader, a lecturer and an activist in the field of religion and state, and one of the leaders in the field of accompanying and guiding couples before and after the wedding, and conducting egalitarian wedding ceremonies by women. Tamar is married to Ariel and mother to Naomi and Abigail.

 

Why did I join the Anahnu movement?

 

As a Reform female rabbi in Israel I am forced to contend with many difficulties. I encounter a lot of hatred, ignorance and rejection that, in my view, stem from a lot of fear. The fear of losing control, the fear of the unknown and the fear of different ways which allow for diversity and depth.

 

I believe that once we no longer have a single, governing, monopolistic way, with resources allocated exclusively to it, we shall then be able to allow for a more significant and diversified Jewish world within Israeli society. We shall reduce the fear of many orthodox Jews of alternative Judaism, and the fear of many secular Jews of "religionization" and traditional Jewish symbols.

 

Anahnu movement calls for the establishment of a new 'Jewish federal-democratic' constitution in Israel. This would allow the religious streams in Israeli society to live beside one another, with mutual fertilization and no harm to each other. In this pluralistic vision I find great hope for strengthening the 'Jewish peoplehood' and for reducing the growing rift in Israeli and global-Jewish society. This is why I joined the Anahnu movement.

 
 
 
 
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