[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 30 (Thursday, March 17, 1994)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: March 17, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



                            HON. TOM LANTOS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, March 17, 1994

  Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor a man who used his 
life to labor patiently in building a grassroots infrastructure for 
peace in the Middle East. Ali Yehie Adib, an Israeli Arab, born in the 
year Israel declared its nationhood, feels that there is no conflict in 
his combined identity. He is passionately committed to pluralism and 
the respectful coexistence of neighbors in this long troubled region.
  Ali Yehie Adib was born in 1947 in Kfar Kara, an Israeli Arab 
village, the oldest of eight children of a family of farmers. Upon 
completing high school in Kfar Kara, Mr. Ali Adib developed a deep 
attachment to Jerusalem--its alleyways, its neighborhoods, and its 
people. He enjoyed the colorful international and interfaith spirit of 
the city.
  Mr. Ali Adib returned to his village as a teacher of history and 
citizenship at his former high school. In addition to his teaching 
responsibilities, he dedicated himself to promoting opportunities for 
bringing Jewish and Arab children together.
  Immediately after the Six-Day War, the language school Ulpan Akiva 
pioneered a project to teach spoken Arabic as a pathway to dialog. In 
order to maintain his own roots, Ali still devotes at least 2 days a 
week to teaching in his own village.
  Being an Israeli citizen, Mr. Ali Adib feels that there is a total 
harmony in his combined identity as an Israeli Arab. He sees himself as 
a living, natural bridge, linking Arabs to the Jewish community and 
culture and Jews to the pluralism of Israeli society. One of the high 
points in his life was being accorded the honor of being the first Arab 
to light a torch in the annual ceremony which marks the beginning of 
the Independence Day celebrations in Jerusalem. That particular year, 
1984, was designated the ``Year of the Unity of Israel,'' celebrating 
the pluralistic nature of the country and its peoples.
  Ulpan Akiva is considered a microcosm of the world. The goal of Ulpan 
Akiva is to teach the language of the region and use the ability to 
communicate in each other's language as a tool to help break down 
  The students of Mr. Ali Adib's Arab language school, including 
President Herzog, Members of Parliament, professors and many other 
individuals in highly respected positions, have taken their lessons to 
heart and have become part of that new understanding upon which 
agreements such as the dramatic Israeli-Palestinian Peace Accords have 
a chance to be translated into reality.
  In 1993, Ulpan Akiva was nominated for the second consecutive year 
for the Nobel Peace Prize and, also in 1993, Mrs. Shulamith Katznelson, 
the founder and director, and Mr. Ali Yehie were awarded the 
Coexistence Prize by the Jewish Arab Institute of Bet Berl for their 
lifetime commitment to promoting understanding between Jews and Arabs.
  As peace in the Middle East appears closer, the work of Mr. Ali Yehie 
becomes daily more important. The model he provides with his life and 
the lessons he teaches his students provides a framework for the 
future. Ali Yehie is among those unsung heroes who have devoted their 
lives to creating peace, one person at a time.