Mark the first week in June 2007 in your calendars. That's the date when Polish business tycoon Aleksander Gudzowaty plans to unveil his tolerance monument on a hill marking the divide between Armon Hanatziv and Jebl Mukaber. Symbolically, the tolerance monument will stand opposite United Nations headquarters in Jerusalem. It is not uncommon for the sons and daughters of radical anti-Semites to want to atone for the sins of their parents by engaging in something of value in the Jewish homeland. But Gudzowaty, who was born in Lodz in 1938, the year prior to the invasion of Poland by Nazi troops, has nothing for which to atone. His parents were not anti-Semites. On the contrary, they preached and practiced tolerance and numbered many Jews among their friends and acquaintances. After the war, his mother paid several visits to Israel to catch up with the Jewish friends of her youth. But Gudzowaty, who is a member of the International Board of Governors of the Peres Peace Center, is concerned with growing intolerance in the world - and it was this concern that prompted the concept of a tolerance monument. Speaking to In Jerusalem in the luxurious confines of his five-room suite at the Mount Zion Hotel, Gudzowaty, who was in Israel on this occasion to sign an agreement with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation in the presence of representatives of the Peres Peace Center, expressed his concern at growing intolerance in the world at large and in Israel in particular. He is disturbed, he says, by the fact that Jews and Arabs have not learned to coexist. While there may be pockets of successful co-existence, in general the picture is bleak. Even though Jerusalem is called the city of peace, he said, "It is in fact a city of conflict. It stirs so many emotions." It bothers him that despite all the progress in the world, people have lost the ability to resolve conflicts. "We are like ice. We have lost feeling." Gudzowaty reached the conclusion that in order to regain feeling, people have to be reminded of their obligations to each other as human beings. Sometimes this requires visual symbols, such as the huge monument that he is erecting to remind both Jews and Arabs that tolerance is an important element in co-existence. In tandem with technological development, he said, the world has turned toward globalization. "We can no longer find ourselves as individuals. We are confronting concentration, which inevitably leads to explosion. For that reason, we must change our language of communication." Language, like tolerance, is a major element in all efforts toward coexistence. Although Polish soil is drenched with the blood of intolerance, Gudzowaty chose to put up his monument not in Poland but in Jerusalem, "because this is the city closest to God and is a focal point from any location around the globe." Designed by Polish artist Czeslaw Dzwigaj in collaboration in the initial stages with sculptor Michal Kubiak, the monument will be several meters tall. The concept evolves around the split column of a nameless temple reaching skywards. In its divided state the column looks like a tree trunk vertically torn asunder. Pushing its way up through the split is an olive tree whose branches reach up over the top of both parts of the column, with a small grain surrounded by a halo at the top. The grain, said Gudzowaty, is "a golden grain of tolerance." Gudzowaty would not say how much the monument would cost, other than to give a ballpark figure of millions. When asked whether he was referring to zlotys or dollars, Gudzowaty replied that he was talking in dollar terms. The monument will be surrounded by grassland on which like-minded individuals and organizations can place plaques attesting to their endorsement of tolerance. When told that in Israel a plaque is usually accompanied by a large donation for a specific project, Gudzowaty said that he hadn't thought that far ahead. He was less interested in specific projects, he said, than in having as many people as possible commit themselves to tolerance. In addition to funds that he contributes toward causes in Israel, Gudzowaty is one of the patrons of the Bethlehem Music Academy and donates 20 scholarships each year to promising musicians.

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