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Cablegate: Tel Aviv Outreach On Democracy and Human Rights

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #1274/01 1680703
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160703Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7133

UNCLAS TEL AVIV 001274

SIPDIS

STATE FOR DRL/SEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: TEL AVIV OUTREACH ON DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS

REF: (A) STATE 44903 (B) 2007 STATE 88465 (C) 2007
STATE 108924 (D) 2007 TEL AVIV 2682

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 to support their efforts to promote peace and
democracy through multi-cultural and inter-faith dialogue,
and meets regularly with civil society activists engaged in
promoting religious and ethnic minority rights in Israel.

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

-- In his op-ed "Constructing the Defenses of Peace" that was
published in the December 21, 2007 edition of Haaretz, the
Ambassador focused on the need to foster understanding of
different ethnic and religious groups. The Ambassador
promoted "developing bridges between Israeli's Arab and
Jewish communities and between Israelis and Palestinians" and
explained how "we work closely with groups and institutions
that teach respect for democratic values and diversity."

-- As part of International Education Week, the Ambassador's
November 13, 2007 remarks at our American Corner in Karmiel
promoted "President Bush's vision of two states, one Jewish
and one Palestinian, living side-by-side in peace and
security" and "peace education" including "the study of the
traditions, history and beliefs of other cultures." The
Ambassador spoke about how "we work closely with groups and
institutions that teach respect for democratic values and
diversity, and provide students with solid citizenship
skills."

-- During his May 12, 2008 interview with Panet, the website
of the Arabic language newspaper Panorama (which printed a
transcript of the interview) the Ambassador discussed issues
facing the Israeli-Arab community and the importance of
defending minority rights.

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

-- Our Fulbright Outreach scholarship program, formerly the
Israeli-Arab Scholarship Program, provided grants to Israeli
minority students -- primarily Arab-Israelis and
Ethiopian-Israelis -- for post-graduate study in the United
States.

-- Our Department-funded Access Micro-Scholarship program
reached over 1,500 Israeli-Arab students receiving English
language classes in order to improve their high school
matriculation scores and thereby increase their chances of
gaining admission to Israeli universities.

-- English language classes at our American Corners served
nearly 100 high school students, who had a multiplying effect
in their communities both in terms of English speakers and in
exposure to democratic ideals.

-- Our MEPI program with the Sikkuy Association promoted fair
representation and employment equity for Arab citizens in the
public and private sectors, and has had a significant impact
in the area of increasing Arab representation on the boards
of government corporations and Arab employment in the civil
service.

-- Our MEPI program with the Movement for Quality Government
in Israel is designed to train Israeli-Arab jurists and
provide them with tools for effective legal and civil action
against corruption, incompetence and malfeasance in local
government. The aim is to improve the quality of local
government while promoting values of citizen action in a
democratic society.

-- 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 n 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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