Seventy WJC Jewish Diplomats from more than forty countries attended a conference titled Haifa as a Model for Coexistence
The World Jewish Congress hosted in Israel members of its flagship program—the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps—to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel. On the three-day mission, they visited Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa, and engaged with leaders of Israeli society in various areas.
Founded in 1936, in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Jewish Congress is a politically non-partisan international organization that advocates on behalf of Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world towards governments, parliaments, international organizations and other faiths.
WJC has been active in countless campaigns since its inception: advocating for justice for Holocaust victims and their heirs; campaigning for the right of Soviet Jews to emigrate to Israel; countering anti-Semitism and the de-legitimization of Israel; and continually supporting the State and People of Israel in their struggle to live in peace with their neighbors.
On April 16, the delegates made a historic first visit to Haifa, to attend the convention Haifa as a Model for Coexistence, which took place at the City Council Hall. The delegation included diplomats, businesspersons, entrepreneurs, lawyers, community leaders, social media specialists, venture capital investors, economists and academics.
The first presentation was by Professor Yossi Ben-Artzi, former rector of Haifa University, entitled The Evolution of Haifa as the Metropolis of Northern Israel. Ben-Artzi gave a summary of Haifa's history, its evolution from the 18th century to the present day, Herzl's affinity with the city and the ways by which Jews, Arabs and Christians contributed to developing it.
Following was an address by Salim Joubran, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, who offered Insights on Diversity in the Israeli Justice System. Appointed a permanent member to the Supreme Court in 2004, Justice Joubran was the first Israeli Arab to hold the position. Speaking about human rights and Israel’s minority communities, Justice Joubran stated he is proud to live in a city whose residents coexist with mutual respect and tolerance. "I am proud in that my grandchildren learn in a bilingual school and get to become familiar with cultures different from theirs," said Joubran.
Also among the speakers were four leaders of major religious centers in Haifa - Amir Muhammad Sharif Ode, Head of Ahmadiyya Haifa, Dr. Joshua Lincoln, Secretary General of the Baha'i International Community; Imad Telhami, Founder and Chairman of Babcom Centers and Asaf Ron, Director of Beit HaGefen
The Haifa model serves as proof that coexistence in peace is possible, when based on mutual respect; it started this way over one-hundred years ago, and this is the spirit to this very day. This is the only place in the world where coexistence is exercised on a daily basis.