'Be A Mensch' group founded to teach Israelis manners

Be A Mensch group foun

It might seem like a task more daunting than reaching a final peace agreement with our neighbors in the region, but a pioneering group of writers, doctors and officials have joined forces in recent months to establish an organization aimed at teaching Israelis integrity and consideration for their fellow man. "It's no secret that there has been a major decline in the basic attitudes of the Israeli public," Dr. Moshe Kaplan, founder and director of the Be A Mensch Campaign, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday. "A study done not so long ago by the Geocartography Institute indicates the majority of Israelis see unity and tolerance as the most important priority to ensuring the country's survival." Kaplan, the lead author of the book Be A Mensch - Why Good Character is the Key to a Life of Happiness, Health, Wealth and Love, published last month by Gefen Publishers in English and soon to be released in Hebrew, will be joined by former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball star Tal Brody and other high-profile personalities to give weight to the initiative. "We are also discussing the possibility of a television show with funding from a large local company," said Kaplan, a former immigrant from the US. "We are also hoping to distribute educational materials in schools and make an appearance on social media such as YouTube and Twitter." The campaign is primarily aimed at Israelis between the ages of 16 and 35, but will also approach those outside this age group. "Our first goal is to find the youngest person in the country who knows how to say 'please' and 'thank you,'" quipped Kaplan, adding that the campaign would start with the basics, such as showing courtesy on the roads and not blowing cigarette smoke into other people's faces. "Integrity and consideration have nothing to do with the religious or secular split or with the political divide," said Kaplan. "It is about one human being [showing consideration] to another, regardless of individual views. "I don't care what a person's background is," he concluded. "The only way we will survive is if we get along with each other."