Getting to Know EUSTORY Alumni: Tzivia From Israel
Tzivia’s first EUSTORY event was the 2018 EUSTORY Summit. She wrote about the role of religion in Israel for the History Campus and in 2019/2020 she was part of the project “Europe 1945-2020”. We spoke with the young Israeli woman about history, crossing borders and traditions. Tzivia’s friends are from Ireland, Germany and Georgia. Tzivia is from Israel and considers herself a workaholic – not only in terms of her job in the Education Corps of the army, but especially in her striving for a society where modern values find their place next to old traditions.
Name: Tzivia, born in 1998
Lives in: Efrat, Israel
First EUSTORY activity: 2018 in Berlin
From Memories to Mindsets
"The state should never be opposed with violence," the workshop moderator read out on a windy autumn day during the EUSTORY Summit 2018 in Berlin. Tzivia looked around and realised that she was the only person in the group who did not agree with this statement. During that workshop Tzivia found out that "making peace with history" can have a thousand meanings and that differing positions and perceptions result from varying experiences and backgrounds. Her European Jewish past as well as the geopolitical situation in the Middle East with human rights violations (e.g. in Syria) made her understand that in certain situations violent opposition to the state is legitimate.
EUSTORY: Encountering Contradictory Perspectives and Surprising Similarities
As part of the EUSTORY eCommemoration project, a European digital project commemorating World War II in 2020, Tzivia once again experiences that dealing with the past uncovers different, sometimes contradictory perspectives on a historic or current topic. Nevertheless, working together with peers from all over Europe shows her that different nationalities, cultures and faiths do not automatically divide. "Be it the passion for reading and hiking, but also more fundamental things – our perception of some global issues today and our visions for the future – we have more in common than expected; even the ways we evaluate our beliefs are similar, although some of us are Christians and others are Jews".
Israel: Old Traditions Vs. Modern Values
Past mistakes lead to morality, that’s why confronting the past has become so important to her, Tzivia explains. "History helps me to understand poetry, philosophy and politics, to learn about my home country and to deal with various perspectives concerning the same topic. That way, I develop my own identity and a sense of belonging".
She was raised in a modern-orthodox family with six siblings in which the topic of tradition is a controversial one between Tzivia and her relatives: "My sister and I have difficulties to accept the woman’s place as the Jewish tradition sees it. We prefer to adopt a more modern stance to it whilst not leaving tradition behind completely." Thereby, finding the right balance between old traditions and modern values is not as easy as it seems; on the contrary, it leads to an ever-present dilemma. A society in which women have the same rights and opportunities as men – this is the first step towards a society Tzivia dreams of.
The Will to Change
21-year-old Tzivia from Efrat, a small town close to Jerusalem, works for the Education corps of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). In Israel, serving the army for at least two years after having finished school is obligatory, for both young women and men. "The unit that I am working for gives seminars to soldiers, where the core values of the IDF are being taught: to always protect human life, to be disciplined and to orientate towards human dignity. I also meet soldiers from other countries, show them around Jerusalem and teach them about the history of the Jewish State«. Tzivia likes her job – because of the companionate atmosphere and the opportunity to meet people from Israel and from abroad. However, she hopes that future generations will be free in their decision whether to serve the army or not.
Fun Fact: Tzivia got to know one of her best Israeli friends during a EUSTORY Summit in Berlin