Questionnaire: The bridge builder

Carol Daniel Kasbari is a mix of everything Israeli.She was born and raised in Nazareth, she studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and speaks fluent Arabic, Hebrew and English.

Carol Daniel Kasbari 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Carol Daniel Kasbari 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
As a professional, Carol Daniel Kasbari has dedicated her working life to bringing together people of different backgrounds and helping them to better understand each other.
■ What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A sense of responsibility and mission in life. I was given a life to do something with, and I need to look for and discover this “something” every day. Usually the sounds of the kids in the morning are the first sign that life is waiting for us to do something.
■ What keeps you up at night?
My family and the uncertainty about our future in the country due to my husband’s temporary residency status that has persisted for 12 years. [He is a Palestinian whose family lives in Ramallah.] His temporary status keeps us from being able to feel stable in our life and future here.
■ What’s the most difficult professional moment you’ve faced so far?
Taking a tough decision recently to end my work as manager for a prestigious and successful program for Israeli and Palestinian journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My decision came as a result of growing dissatisfaction and disagreements within the workplace.
■ How do you celebrate your achievements?
Spend quality time with my husband and kids, eat seafood and plan the next vacation.
■ If you were prime minister, what’s the first thing you would do?
I would change my security level at the airport. For a some reason that is completely unclear to me I am considered to be of high risk. I would appoint two or three Arab ministers in the government to help run the country and help bridge between Israel and the Arab countries, and would encourage Avigdor Lieberman to return his “old country.”
■ Which Israeli should have a movie made about him?
I would make a movie about Amira Hass, the journalist who follows her heart and values in her reporting of the conflict, she risks so much in her personal life and career and maintains the highest standard of professional integrity.
■ What would you change about Israelis if you could?
I would get Israelis and Palestinians swap places for one week and trust that this would lead people to understand how each side deserves to live in dignity and learn how to share this land.
■ BlackBerry or pen and paper?
In fact, both are my best friends. Black- Berry is with me wherever I go even when I go to bed; my connection with the world is mainly through it. But my pen and agenda are my companions, as I never set a meeting without writing it down in my thick agenda book.
■ If you had to write an advertisement to entice tourists to come to Israel, what would it say?
If it was an ad for the future Israel, I would idealize it as an example for social and political coexistence for both peoples: “Come and experience the new Holy Land, an open place without borders where Israelis and Palestinians – Christians, Muslims and Jews – live together in generosity of spirit. Today, you can freely discover the beautiful historical Palestinian houses and the rich Jewish heritage.”
■ The most serious problem facing the country is:
Israel is isolating itself from its neighboring countries and its leaders model a very egocentric behavior. This is bringing further deepening the separation between the Arabs and Jews. The people are good but not to each other. The level of intolerance and racism towards the “other” is frighteningly high.
■ How can it be solved?
Leaders of each community need to reach out to the “other” and model a behavior which is open and respectful to points of view which are “different.”
The new generation will follow, especially if the educational system promotes diversity from early childhood, and diverse ethnic groups are integrated into the same institutions at school and work.
■ In 20 years, the country will be:
This is a pessimistic outlook: Ethnically diverse but consisting mostly of Jews. New Jewish immigrants will be motivated to make aliya to balance the demographic imbalance between Jews and Arabs. Meanwhile the educated Palestinian citizens will have emigrated to the US and Europe in search of a better future.