We need to talk

Unity in Diversity is a group of mainly English speakers from both sides of the Green Line who meet to discuss issues on the national agenda. The membership is open-ended, and anyone is encouraged to join. Currently there are approximately 200 members, mainly immigrants from South Africa, North and South America, Australia and the UK. Meetings are held every few months, conducted in English, either at a venue in the Sharon or a West Bank settlement. Occasionally, guest speakers have addressed issues such as conflict resolution or - in the aftermath of the Gaza evacuation - spokespeople for the evacuees have spoken with the group. "We wanted to move away from the ugly trend that had taken root in our society of demonizing each other," explains co-founder Maurice Ostroff. "Whatever our political views, we set out to prove that ideological opponents could engage each other in rational debate and in a civil manner." The group feels it is up to them to buck the trend and create a fresh dynamic of intellectual discourse. "Our aim was never to try to change the views of the other side. We realized that was an exercise in futility", continues fellow founder Henry Shakenovsky. "We wanted to establish a forum for dialogue, where people would be free to express their views to an audience that would listen." For further information contact: Maurice Ostroff, (09) 959-5261 or maurice@trendline.co.il; Henry and Ruth Shakenovsky, (03) 540-3542 or henruth@netvision.net.il- D.E.K.