Here’s a curious case. At .ART, we have various charity initiatives. One of them is an ongoing support for and partnership with Shalva, a Jerusalem-based center dedicated to the provision of transformative care for individuals with disabilities. Together with .ART, Shalva’s children help make dreams reality: you can leave a note of prayer or request in the Western Wall, even if you’re miles away and have no chance of visiting.
After sending out an e-mail to our subscribers reminding them of this opportunity, we were, to out utter surprise, showered in criticism. There were enquiries as to why .ART is “supporting religion”, shaming, and even accusations of “supporting an apartheid government”.
.ART has never made any statements related to religion or politics in Israel, or anywhere else. Shalva is a project that supports children with disabilities, just like similar centers in other countries. The opportunity to leave a note in the Western Wall is a spiritual one, carried out by hundreds of tourists of different faith (or no faith) every day. Moreover, The Old City of Jerusalem and its walls have long been recognized as a UNESCO site, making them world heritage, which is exactly what .ART strives to preserve. By supporting Shalva we promote the art of kindness, the art of tolerance, the art of help – universal qualities above religion and politics which can unite us as a human race.
If one sent a medical mission to North Korea in order to help its cancer patients, would it mean they are promoting a repressive regime? If one supported the preservation of Palmyra, would it mean support for the Syrian government? And if one is donating money for the restoration of the Notre-Dame, does it mean they agree with French politics? We think that support for children, medical help and art-preservation missions are above politics, religion or country borders. What do you think?
Also published on Medium.