In 2012-2013, we honored an Israeli from Tel Aviv, Ronny Edry, whose simple message of love to Iranians in the face of impending war, has inspired a global response.
In March of 2012, Ronny Edry, a graphic designer, father, and husband living in Tel Aviv, Israel, with his family, was frustrated and concerned. All anyone talked about was impending war with Iran, and he wished he could do something to prevent it. One night he created and posted an image on Facebook of himself holding his daughter and waving an Israeli flag. On it was the caption, “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.”
Within 24 hours, thousands of people had shared the poster on Facebook, and Ronny started receiving messages directly from Iranians, much to his great astonishment. His heartfelt action started not only the popular online community Israel Loves Iran, but inspired a wave of response from the other side—groups like Iran Loves Israel, Palestine Loves Israel, and many others.
Like Ronny, citizens around the world are feeling empowered to take charge of their political, economic and social futures. His message amplifies what one person can do—be authentic, pure, simple, and determined. Ronny’s everyday courage has initiated a dialogue between the peoples of two nations that the world had written off as impossible. His passion and dedication to fostering this conversation at the grassroots is a powerful example of the power of the individual to implement tangible change in our world.
When we asked Ronny how he would define sustainable peace, he responded, “It’s both individual and collective. The first part is individual: you have to see the person in front of you as a human, a person. We must stop fearing the ‘Other.’ Once you see your enemy as a human being similar to yourself, then you understand that he doesn’t hate you as years of propaganda succeed to make you believe, and you can never go back to that blind hate. Then, collectively, you can start to know each other and you will be ready for peace.”
That’s what we’re talking about!
Featuring Ronny Edry:
Watch Ronny’s inspiring TED talk: Israel-Iran: A Love Story
Ronny Edry, creator of Israel Loves Iran, was the keynote speaker at Principia College’s 64th annual Public Affairs Conference in March, 2013. Watch Ronny’s rousing address and keynote award acceptance speech at the Principia Public Affairs Conference, March 2013.