Israeli Artists to John Kerry: We Support Your Peace Efforts

Award-winning actress Gila Almagor reportedly says it's important to explain to the U.S. secretary of state that Israel is not a peace refuser.

An Arab-Jewish group representing well-known Israeli cultural figures like author David Grossman and actress Gila Almagor has reportedly sent a letter of support to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, urging him to continue his efforts to bring peace to the region.

"While conducting negotiations between Israel and Palestine is an extremely difficult task, your patient approach of cooperation with both sides advances a sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," wrote the Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation and Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development, according to a Hebrew report in Yedioth Ahronoth on Wednesday.

"We are honored to turn to you, as civil society activists from Israel and Palestine, with a request to express our full support for your efforts to promote peace between the two countries," said the letter, which was also signed by the Center for Democracy and Community Development, a nonprofit Palestinian group based in Jerusalem.

The letter comes as a counterweight to extensive criticism of Kerry on the part of right-wing Israelis, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who angered fellow Israeli politicians and the U.S. State Department last month after he called Kerry "obsessive and messianic."

Last week, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman came out publicly in support of Kerry. In the States, meanwhile, both U.S. President Barack Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice publicly expressed their support for Kerry's Mideast peace efforts. 

"We are aware that the conflict between the two sides has turned into a fruitful field for demagogues and extremists of all kinds, who sabotage every effort aimed at reconciliation and a final-status solution," said the letter.

Almagor, 74, an award-winning actress who belongs to the Arab-Jewish Center, said she wanted to show that criticism of Kerry's peace efforts does not represent the views of all Israelis.

"It was important to join the initiative and clarify to Kerry that Israel is not a peace refuser," Almagor told Yedioth.

Other Israeli artists and authors who are members of the group include author Sami Michael and singer Achinoam Nini, known abroad as Noa.

Zvi Roger