Lova Eliav – the real headliner

July 3, 2010 by

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I have been walking around this week troubled that the headlines are misplaced. The Tweeters have it all wrong. The headline should read – Lova Eliav Calls On Us To Do More.

We live in an age of cynicism. Nothing is true. Everything is perception. The whims of ratings and the market determine value. Lova Eliav – may his memory be a blessing – lived in continuous opposition to these nearly overpowering truths of our age.

The death of Lova Eliav – Israeli activist, educator, and pioneer is a tremendous loss for Israel and the Jewish people. He leaves behind a legacy of selflessness, of personal example, and of relentless work towards creating a better world by beginning with our own small corner.

In an Israel that is increasingly privatized, where the real conditions that bolster solidarity are on the wane; Lova devoted his life to empowering others. The Nitzana educational center along the Egyptian border has had over 150,000 graduates from all segments of Israeli society. His work as a teacher in Israel’s oft-times forgotten development towns helped people recall hope not as an escape from difficulty but as an expression of responsibility.

Lova was also a political maverick bucking consensus in the Israeli Labor movement and was one of the first to call for a Palestinian state alongside of Israel as a necessary prerequisite for the moral legitimacy of Israel and our future development as a Jewish-democratic state.

He was mainly a man in the minority imbued with a powerful sense of his own integrity and the size of the historical mission to ensure the Jewish people a place to call our own. He seemed to live in a way that offered a prophetic model of leadership – a rejection of pretense coupled by a readiness to do what needs to be done.

Lova’s life and his outstanding contributions to Israel – in settlement, in education, in letters, and in politics are exemplars not only for Israel’s current politicians, but as a paradigm of the democratic citizen.

Janucz Korzack – another educational hero whose life embodied and surpassed the limits of philosophy – wrote that the essence of education is the motto – ‘It is forbidden to leave the world as it is.’ Lova fulfilled the motto and his teaching challenges us to do the same.

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