Photo Credit: Koby Dovraz
(L-R) Shadi Halul, Kazim Khalilieh, Hazar Gadben, Matan Peleg

In a conference in Tel Aviv marking International Human Rights Day Monday night, IDF Captain (res.) Shadi Halul, a Christian Arab, told the audience: “There is no country that is more just than Israel, which provides full and equal rights to all of its citizens.”

Halul, who ran 15th on the Knesset slate of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, added: “As a minority, I can testify to all the horrors that Christians experienced and continue to experience in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt – but in Israel, we live freely in peace.”

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The 6th annual Zionist Conference for Human Rights, organized by Im Tirtzu, featured a panel on the integration of minorities in Israel, with Halul, who is the chairman of the Christian IDF Officers Forum, alongside Muslim social activist Kazim Khalilieh, and Druze attorney and activist Hazar Gadben.

(L-R) Ze’ev Jabotinsky, Yishai Fleisher, Matan Peleg / Koby Dovraz

Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg said the conference underscored the unbreakable connection between Zionism and human rights, and countered those who use the call of human rights to slander and delegitimize Israel.

Kazim Khalilieh, who presents pro-Israel lectures around the world, discussed the difficulties of advocating for Israel as a member of the Muslim community, saying, “It’s not easy to go against the current. Two years ago, my parents stopped talking to me because of my support for Israel. But that is who I am; I need to stand up for the truth.”

Hazar Gadben called on those who slander Israel to “wake up.”

“All the radical-left Jews who slander and demonize Israel need to wake up and understand that if they were the minority in Israel, they would go back to being ‘Jews with big noses’ and would be oppressed to no end.”

The panel was followed by a discussion on the topic of Israel’s legal rights, featuring Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the grandson of the famous Revisionist Zionist leader, and Yishai Fleisher, the spokesperson of the Jewish Community of Hebron.

The conference concluded with an awards ceremony, in which Im Tirtzu’s Zionist Prize for Human Rights was given to social activist and bereaved father Boaz Kokia, whose son Ron was murdered last year in a terror attack; and to Rabbi Arie Levy, founder of Rescuers Without Borders, which provides medical assistance to those in need throughout the world.

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