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Head of School's Blog

Occasional musings from Head of School Brad Bates

A Talk on Recent Events in Israel

I wanted to share a short speech I gave to our community in Morning Meeting this week.

I wanted to talk briefly about the recent events in Israel. On October 7th, a group called Hamas invaded Israel and killed and slaughtered over 1000 Israelis and foreigners, including at least 22 Americans, and kidnapped over 150 people after slipping across the border of the Gaza Strip into Israel. This terrorist act has been referred to as Israel’s 9/11. Israel has since declared war on Hamas and is looking for Hamas militants within its borders. The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is incredibly complex and deserves careful study. 

I deplore this act of violence and am devastated for the Israeli people and for Jews around the world and in our school community. I feel sadness and empathy for Jewish people worldwide who now live with even more fear of persecution and antisemitic violence. These are dark times for the Palestinians and Israelis, and I sincerely hope there is an end to the violence. If we believe in human rights, democracy, and freedom, we must reject the use of terror in our world. 

Our school is intentionally diverse so that we can all learn to live with people who are different from ourselves. We do not have to agree with one another, but I challenge us to learn how to understand people from different cultures. I hope that Dublin graduates will be agents of peace in the world, citizens of their countries who build bridges between different groups. Cross-cultural understanding is essential to the future of our country and our world. In difficult times like these, when I am feeling helpless about how to respond to world events, I like to turn to our mission. I urge you to be curious and delve deeply into the history and issues impacting the situation in Israel. I challenge you to do meaningful work not only in your classes but also in your dormitories and in the dining commons as you seek to understand where your own beliefs come from and how the unique experiences of your peers and teachers have shaped them. I hope we will all work to disrupt and stand up against prejudice, provincialism, and hate. I remain hopeful that humans can work toward and achieve peaceful outcomes.

I am happy to talk further with anyone who wishes to discuss these tragic events. If anyone in the community needs support as the process this event, please reach out to our support network.