Quora Question: What is Life Really Like in Israel?

Israel's Rabin Square in Tel Aviv
People hold an Israeli flag at the Tel Aviv Municipality building on November 14, 2015 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Organizers canceled a unity concert in the square on Sunday after a public outcry about the lack of female performers. Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

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Answer from Diana Stoll, co-author of The Desert and the Cities Sing: Discovering Today's Israel and Lin Arison, co-founder of the National YoungArts Foundation and the New World Symphony:

What should the world know about Israel? This question really is the main inspiration behind our new publication, The Desert and the Cities Sing: Discovering Today's Israel. Israel is, like the United States, so much more than what we read about in the headlines, more than its politics, and to take it further: it is even more than its religion and history. It is a country in forward motion, with extraordinary levels of innovation and creativity helping it to move into the future.

It is also a place with many pockets of peacefulness and, we believe, a majority of people who want peace for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. As we researched for our project, we met with people from every sector and background—scientists, artists, educators, farmers, chefs, business leaders, humanitarian-aid workers—who all expressed a desire for peace and a willingness to work toward it.

We met the principal of a school where children from 48 countries, of all backgrounds and ethnicities—are encouraged to love one another—which, it turns out, is something children do quite naturally.

We spoke with a business mogul who is creating startup spaces throughout Israel where Arabs and Jews are working together. He told us he believes the answer to the strife in the region is jobs and economic security for all.

We visited a community of Bedouins who are finding new ways to sustain themselves economically, with the help of their neighbors.

We met with an Arab nanoscientist who spoke to us of building a new model of success for both Arabs and Jews in Israel.

We interviewed an artist who creates buildings with stones from all corners of the Middle East—to show that here at least, these histories can work together.

Virtually everywhere we turned we saw extraordinary things happening in Israel. Yes, it is a place fraught with complications and conflicts: those are real and all too concrete—and those challenges make it to the headlines outside of Israel. But there is much, much more to the place.

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Quora Question: What is Life Really Like in Israel? | World