Dozens of Israeli intellectuals and leading artists are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers to work to obtain a ceasefire and dialogue which will lead to a peace agreement.
The petition, which was distributed on Sunday, was signed by authors Amos Oz, Joshua Sobol and Yoram Kaniuk, dancer and choreographer Ohad Naharin, artistic director Smadar Yaaron, Hebrew literature Prof. Nissim Calderon, director Doron Tsabari and dancer Renana Raz, among others.
"We feel the pain of Israel's southern residents, who have been sentenced to live in mortal fear for years," the petition says, stressing that "it is the government's right and obligation to defend you, but this is not the right way.
"Periods of peace and quiet were always the result of a dialogue and agreement. We have already assassinated terrorists and launched military operations, as well as invaded Gaza, and nothing has changed apart from more killing and more hatred."
The petition signatories define Hamas as an enemy, but at the same time call for a long-term ceasefire through a direct dialogue or international mediation.
"The residents of the south, like the residents of Gaza, deserve to look up to the sky with hope rather than with fear," they add.