Inner City Gazette - - Front Page -

WITS stu­dents pose for a pic­ture with Yi­ty­ish Titi Ay­naw. Pic­tures Moses Moyo

Di­a­logue and not Di­vi­sion was the clear mes­sage from the South African Union of Jewish Stu­dents (SAUJS) dur­ing this year ’s Is­rael Aware­ness Week (IAW) at var­i­ous cam­puses around the coun­try.

SAUJS de­cided to use the week as an op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents at Wits Univer­sity to learn more about the com­pli­cated Mid­dle East con­flict.

They Th had h d dif­fer­ent diff speakers from f around the world who gave dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on the con­flict. The speakers line up showed the di­ver­sity of Is­raeli so­ci­ety.

Former Miss Is­rael, Yi­ty­ish Titi Ay­naw called for an end to fight­ing. “Those who hate Is­rael should check their facts be­cause they waste en­ergy on mis­in­for­ma­tion,” she ad­vised.

Titi Ay­naw told her story of how she was born into a poor Jewish fam­ily in Ethiopia and or­phaned at the age of nine.

Nonethe­less, her dream was to go to Is­rael. When she even­tu­ally made aliyah to Is­rael she

tkYi­ty­ish Titi Ay­naw Former MISS IS­RAEL

quickly in­te­grated into Jewish so­ci­ety and ten years later be­came Miss Is­rael. “Me­dia of­ten dis­torts re­al­ity on Is­rael,” says beauty queen Titi.

Ish­mael Khaldi also spoke to stu­dents and told his story of be­ing a Mus­lim Be­douin shep­herd and be­com­ing Is­rael’s first diplo­mat. Yahya Ma­hamid an Arab Is­raeli speaker also shared his per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence and re­jected the the anal­ogy of Apartheid in his coun­try Is­rael. “There must be more tol­er­ance. “We must work to break the de­lib­er­ate myths that ex­ist in the Is­raeli-Arab sec­tor. We also must take the next

step to peace, stop the in­cite­ment one hears in school, me­dia and mosque,” he said. To close off the di­a­logue, was Syr­ian refugee and ac­tivist Is­sam Zeitoun who shared his ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing a refugee. Zeitoun be­lieves that Is­rael can play an im­por­tant role to­wards a long-term solution to the tragic Syr­ian civil war.

In­ner City Gazette spoke to var­i­ous stu­dents who al­luded to the fact that the SAUJS strat­egy worked. “Through­out the week stu­dents passed by the SAUJS tent and en­gaged with the speakers. There was true di­a­logue in true South African spirit.”

By Moses Moyo moses­moyo@icloud.com

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