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Document 10

Love thy neighbour

If we want to create in New Zealand a society which expresses the best that human civilisation has ever aimed for, I would go for "Love thy neighbour" as the starting point said David Zwartz.

He offered "Love thy neighbour" as the first principle for citizenship education that could address the challenge of cultural diversity when he spoke to the citizenship education networking function in Wellington in August 2005.

David Zwartz, immediate past President of the New Zealand Jewish Council, said "it seems to me a very basic and important first principle, one that is mirrored in the fundamental writings of all major religions".

I am enough of a Jewish fundamentalist to go back to the Bible, the Book of Leviticus – which we call VaYikra in Hebrew – where we read in chapter 19: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

And let’s not be too PC about using it only as an ideal. Harmony is great in theory but it also works in practice. It helps achieve maximum efficiency, productivity and satisfaction he said.

"Its opposite, cacophony, produces confrontation and conflict. Not good for profits" and quipped to the organiser " I hope you’ve got the Business Round Table as one of your backers".

David Zwartz commended practical steps based on the golden rule of “love your neighbour as yourself” - examples of which were the book and video “People like us” published 23 years ago, and the NZ Diversity Forum in August 2005.

Updated 25 August 2003


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