This past June in Tel Aviv, the American Jewish Peace Archive interviewed J Street Israel Director Yael Patir. Patir recounted the influence of American Jews on the Israeli peace movement and offered counsel for American activists.
Patir was born in Tel Aviv to a liberal Zionist family. Three of her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Her grandmother often shared with her the lesson that one’s lot in life is “all a matter of luck, not anything else.” The close relationship Patir had with her grandmother helped inspire her staunch commitment to fight against injustice for those who suffer through no fault of their own.
Although her parents were not activists, they were sympathetic to the peace movement. At age fifteen, Patir tagged along with her older brother to the November 4, 1995 peace demonstration at which Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated. At a time when the Israeli electorate was bitterly divided, she recalls: “We took with us a big Israeli flag, because we wanted to make a statement that we were as patriotic and Israeli-loving as anybody else despite… [supporting] this peace process.” The experience of Rabin’s assassination was indelibly inscribed in her memory. Read more.