On Monday 20th November, Tamir Oren came to speak at the Balfour Society meeting on the topic of “The Balfour Declaration: 100 years on”. Having served during the last conflict in 2014, his personal experiences from inside the Gaza Strip allowed for a thought-provoking talk for everyone present, especially those pupils in D Block currently studying the conflict. Tamir opened his talk by citing and explaining different parts of the declaration: which bits had been achieved, and which bits hadn’t, those for both the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. This was key for everyone listening because while the state of Israel has been established, Tamir said if Balfour himself had woken up today and looked at the current situation of the region, then he would not be very content with it! This is because neither do the ‘non-jewish’ communities, i.e. the Palestinians, have a state under which they are represented, nor are the rights and political status of the Jews ‘enjoyed’. To end the evening, he opened up the floor to challenging questions from the boys themselves. These ranged from time he served to the roadblocks to peace, and how, in his own opinion, peace can be achieved, if it can be at all.

Nathan Swidler

Photos: Thomas Ward