This article is dedicated to my Israeli Muslim brother Muhammad Zoabi, my Jewish sisters Kay Wilson and Emily Folmer along with all the amazing kind people who helped me with my fundraising and my personal issues.

A brilliant Israeli journalist gave me advice about journalism, suggesting I must be transparent about my own agenda as a blogger and as an activist so my readers can understand my views and accept the differences or disagreements that we may have so there will be no surprises or any confusion about what I write.

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My agenda is very simple to explain, so I will start with what the great Mark Twain once said: "The TWO most important days in your life are the day you are BORN and the day you know WHY."

Of course I know when I was born because it was written on my birth certificate so this was the easy part, but the why I was born and what I should do with my life took me more than 30 years to figure out. To be exact I really knew the why and what my real purpose in life was on Friday, November 21, 2014.

After hearing about my work and seeing my potential as an activist, the American Embassy in Cairo last year gave me all the help I needed, including a five years visa and granting me nomination to be part of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) which is the US Department of State`s premier professional exchange program that has been going for 75 years and counting.

Without hesitation I accepted the invitation to go to the US and study "Peace and Stability through Conflict Resolution." We were a group of seven participants from six Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq and my Egypt.

From day one I knew that there was no way any of my group would like me because I am pro-Israel and that in all the lectures or meetings that we would attend I would have to introduce myself as Ahmed Meligy, the Jerusalem Post blogger and pro-Israel peace activist, who traveled across Europe last summer from one death camp to another to see with my own eyes and feel with my heart the evils that happened during the Holocaust.


(The Dachau death camp in Munich - a Muslim woman behind me whom I don't know was also there learning the history)

I was prepared for the isolation and the bad looks that I would get from the group. So I decided to do nothing but to focus and be committed to the IVLP program no matter what happened from my fellow participants.

On day one in our very first meeting I said who I was loud and clear with a small request to my group that they stay patient and not to jump to conclusions. But, sadly as I expected the group was very cautious around me and some asked me very silly questions like where my loyalty really lies and why I am sleeping with the enemy...etc.

During the first week was in DC, we met with professors and lecturers from the likes of the US State Department, US Congress, the Supreme Court, United States Institute for Peace, USAID and more.

During the second week we flew to Cincinnati, Ohio where it was snowing like crazy and most evenings we were stuck in the lobby of our fine hotel. We met very fine people from various NGOs that work on racial, religious and community issues.

The third week we flew to sunny San Diego, California where magic occurred. Among the many places and the amazing institutes we went to, on Friday November 21st we began a conflict resolution workshop that we all had to work on together, which was managed by an incredible man, Mr. ALEXIS DIXON, who is a professional mediator from Harvard University.

The workshop posed the question, if each of us received $10,000 on the spot, what our gift to humanity would be by means of this money? So everyone started writing down what he or she would do with this amount of money. I decided that my $10,000 would cover the expenses to bring two Israelis, two Palestinians and two Egyptians together for a workshop for one week in a hotel, because the human experience and cultural exchange by working together would make them very close friends by the end of the week. The main point of my idea was after starting as total strangers they would end as friends, and then take their experiences to their loved ones back home in Israel, Palestine and My Egypt. There they would explain to them that we are all humans who share the same heart and the same God. But then we had to split into smaller groups and negotiate which gift to chose because the $70,000 became only a $10,000, which means only one gift out of the seven could be chosen. The entire group was then in a conflict as most people had to compromise their gifts to only one.

Of corse without hesitation my heart told me to hold my tongue and let them choose whatever they wanted because my gift was an unacceptable dream. But the greatest shock ever was when the Saudi friend, the Algerian and the Iraqi friend chose my idea because they were CONVINCED that it was the right thing to do for our region in order to have some real peace. I couldn’t believe my ears or eyes when they supported me on a peace project with Israel.


(Professional Mediator from Harvard University Mr. Alexis Dixon speaking about my fellow Israeli activist Ronny Edry's viral 'We Love You' campaign)

That very special Friday I knew in my bones that I was born for this and advocating peace with Israel was my life`s purpose. I never tried for once to convince anyone from my group with my work or even of my purposes for doing it. They were only inspired and understood the real purpose of my work through hearing my discussions during the program with all the great people we met, which therefore tells me I was born for this.


(Graduation ceremony at the United Nations in NY)

The added bonus to all of this was that I saw, as a very clear sign from God, that these sudden changes of hearts happened on a Friday, which is a very special religious day to both Jews and Muslims.


(Lighting memorial candles in Auschwitz, Poland at the Black Wall)

So my agenda and the purpose that I will keep following until my time comes, are my beloved Egypt and our peace in the whole MENA region together with Israel.

Feel free to listen to my radio interview on Voice of Israel with the amazing Molly Livingstone
http://www.voiceofisrael.com/meet-egyptian-enduring-death-threats-arrests-pro-israel-peace-activist/?auto=1


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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

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