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Cablegate: Tel Aviv Response to President's June 5 Prague

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #2682/01 2481109
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051109Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3138
INFO RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 1973

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 002682

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: XF KMPI KPAO SCUL PGOV IS
SUBJECT: TEL AVIV RESPONSE TO PRESIDENT'S JUNE 5 PRAGUE
SPEECH

REF: SECSTATE 88465

1. Israel's status as a well-established democracy means that
most of our public and media outreach on the Freedom Agenda
is focused on promoting the functional integration of Israeli
minorities -- particularly the Israeli-Arab community -- into
the political system. As part of these efforts, the
Ambassador met with leading democracy and human rights
activists such as Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Imam Yahya
Hendi, and Martin Luther King III to support their efforts to
promote peace and democracy through multi-cultural and
inter-faith dialogue.

2. In addition to his diplomatic engagement, the Ambassador
regularly promotes democracy in his public remarks.

-- In his speech at our July 4 reception, attended by the
Prime Minister and Acting President and carried live on
Israeli television, the Ambassador stressed that both the
United States and Israel were founded on the dream of
democracy and a better life for all of their people.

-- In an event at Al-Qasemi Academic College, an Israeli Arab
academic institution, the Ambassador noted that "experience
has taught us that healthy democracies require the constant
and dedicated work of engaged, active, knowledgeable
citizens." He recognized that "Israel is not alone in facing
fateful questions that sometimes bring the majority's real
need for a feeling of security into conflict with the
principle of fair treatment for 'the other,'" but emphasized
that in the United States "we have grappled with questions of
ethnic diversity and we have a rich history of overcoming
racial prejudice and discrimination," which he went on to
discuss.

-- In an interview in the spring with Lilac Magazine, an
Arabic-language magazine with a high circulation in the
Israeli Arab sector, the Ambassador expressed his view that
"the Arab community in Israel can be an immense asset for the
country, because if Israel wants to live in peace with its
neighbors it first must live at peace with its own Arab
community." He suggested that in a democracy like Israel
"the Arab community can serve as a bridge between Israel and
the Arab world.... In other words, they can become
'diplomats.'"

3. A number of Embassy programs and initiatives supported
the Ambassador's outreach efforts.

-- Active MEPI grants to Israel's Arab community include a
project to increase Arab-sector representation on the boards
of government-owned corporations and another to strengthen
leadership and encourage political participation at the
municipal level.

-- Israeli participants in this summer's American Council of
Young Political Leaders program included an Israeli-Arab, our
standard practice for this program.

-- Our ACCESS micro-scholarship program that provides
supplemental English-language training to Israeli-Arab
students contributed this year to a significant increase in
the college entrance exam scores of program graduates, more
of whom are attending university and establishing the civic
and financial foundations for meaningful participation in
Israeli democracy.

-- Speakers participating in PD programs frequently address
questions of effective minority participation in democracy.
For example, earlier in the year Harvard Law School Professor
Charles Ogletree and University of Rhode Island Professor
Bernard LaFayette made separate visits to Israel to address
the political empowerment of minorities and the effective use
of democracy to advance minority rights. Both noted that,
despite the human imperfections embedded in a system that
depends on the will of the people, democracy's malleability
and openness to change make it the best vehicle for
long-lasting political and social advancement.

-- PD, POL and USAID met with the Seeds of Peace President
Nicolla Hewitt on July 19 to discuss strategies and potential
partners for the organization's initiative promoting peace
and coexistence.

-- As part of his work with the large Russian immigrant
community in Israel, the Embassy's Human Rights Reporting
Officer met with exiled Russian dissidents active in the
"Other Russia" coalition.

4. By decision of the Forum's organizers, Israel is not a
participant in the Forum for the Future at this time.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/telaviv

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
********************************************* ********************
JONES

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