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Group Turns to Postcards to Heal Rift Between Israelis

September 3, 1996
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As a result of recent tensions between religious and secular Israelis, a foundation has launched a mailing campaign calling for tolerance.

The Avi Chai foundation kicked off the effort with the mailing of 1.7 million postcards to Israeli households for the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

One side of the postcard depicts the backs of two young men’s heads — one of them with a traditional skullcap, the other bareheaded — with the statement: “An order for reconciliation.”

The flip side of the card allows recipients to fill out a pledge that they identify with the campaign’s slogan: “Honoring tradition, preserving democracy.” Recipients then mail the card back to the foundation.

The campaign comes at a time when the relationship between secular and religious Israelis is strained. One example of the tension is the ongoing legal battle in Jerusalem about Sabbath traffic on a main thoroughfare through religious neighborhoods.

Israeli President Ezer Weizman lent his support to the effort at a Monday reception at his Jerusalem residence, where the campaign was officially launched.

Education Minister Zevulun Hammer of the National Religious Party, who took part in the opening, said, “If we want to live together, we have to first build a common language.”

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