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Haifa, City of Peace By: Bruce Kesler
Democracy Project | Thursday, July 27, 2006


Some partygoers to Beirut may be inconvenienced by the Hezbollah terrorists and their rocket stores and sites targeted by Israel. Meanwhile, the media are silent about what is targeted in Haifa by Hezbollah.

What few are told by media reports is that Haifa is the chosen home of one of the world’s most pacifist sects, the Baha’i, a model of Arab-Israeli coexistence, and source of many of the world’s scientific breakthroughs for health and technology. In short, it represents everything Hezbollah opposes. Haifa represents the imagined future supposedly so dear to Western anti-war, really anti-Western civilization, activists who hypocritically speak of what a wonderful world it would be without Western defense against terrorists.

As the secretary-general of the Baha’i International Community in Haifa, with its gorgeous temple and Babylon-like gardens, says:

"Hizbullah would think it pretty neat if they destroyed our temple"…
"Shi'ites consider a Baha'i an apostate who can be killed for nothing," said Lincoln. "There are 350,000 Baha'i in Iran. They are excluded from higher education, including the last year of high school. If a Baha'i is killed in a traffic accident he is ineligible for compensation, because a Baha'i's life is worthless."
Members of the Baha'i community have been persecuted, and sometimes killed over the years by Muslims, especially by Shi'ites.

The Baha’i are a special target of Hezbollah’s Iranian taskmasters, even recognized by this latest U.N. report.

It’s not just Shia or Iran who hate the Baha’I for their faith, but others like Sunni-majority Egypt who detest its peaceful ways and persecute them.

Haifa is known as the center of Arab-Israeli constructive relations.

For the most part, “there is coexistence here, there is integration and practical cooperation in a normal and natural fashion,” said Fathi Marshood, an Arab who directs the Haifa office of the New Israel Fund’s training and empowerment center, Shatil. “It is a place where Jews and Arabs really can work together, argue, have a dialogue of equals and work toward joint interests as equals.”

There’s a history to this. When Arab states told their fellows in the Mandate to leave while Arab armies crushed the new Israel (then festered their hatreds and let them languish in squalid camps for decades), Jewish leadership in Haifa said stay:

The legacy of the city’s legendary Arab mayor, who between 1914 and 1920 ruled Haifa as the CEO of a successful Arab-Jewish joint venture, is a tradition of mutual tolerance and mutual respect. In 1948, when thousands of Haifa’s Arabs packed up to flee as the war erupted, members of the city’s Jewish labor federation — the strongest community organization in town — handed out leaflets pleading with their Arab neighbors to stay. Yahav keeps one of those leaflets in his drawer. “There is a history of coexistence, and there is almost no history of trauma here,” Yahav said. “There were no religious wars here. It’s no more than a fishermen’s village that has evolved into a thriving town. That’s all.”

Surely, there are Israeli Arabs who fearlessly support Hamas or Hezbollah, but their true fear is demonstrated by they have not put their feet where their mouth is by moving to Gaza or Lebanon, to leave the country that provides them the most rights and opportunities in the Middle East.

Then there’s
Technion, one of the world’s top-ten scientific research and development sites in the world:

Known as "Israel's MIT," the Technion has earned a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in electronics, information technology, water management, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials engineering and aerospace. It is one of just 10 universities in the world that build and launch satellites. It is also one of only five similar institutions worldwide that include a medical school, encouraging progress in the rapidly developing science of biotechnology. The Technion is a recognized leader in stem cell research. It is one of only 15 academic institutions and companies worldwide approved by the National Institutes of Health for government funded research.
Companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and others have established their operations near or even on campus, where they can take advantage of the Technion's research power and outstanding graduates.

Hold your breath waiting for the CNN Special on Haifa, or the New York Times’ feature article, comparing its contributions to the world's hopes to the hopelessness that comes with the terrorists' agenda.

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Bruce Kesler was a Marine sergeant in Vietnam from 1969-70. In 1971, he founded the Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace, which John O’Neill joined, to combat John Kerry’s lies, and they finished the job in 2004. Kesler has been a finance and business operations executive for Fortune 100 and smaller companies, and now owns an employee benefits consulting firm.


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