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Women Wage Peace Update for English speakers - June 2018

In this issue: Mothers’ Tent events  WWP’s response to renewed hostilities on the Gaza border  getting to know our teams  about our regions - this time Eilat ♦ summary of worldwide WWP events  a woman waging peace  waging peace all we can 

in the Mothers’ Tent

WWP’s Mothers’ Tent in the Wohl Rose Garden opposite the Knesset stands as a powerful symbol of our determination to enlist decision-makers at all levels to end the conflict with the Palestinians. And it will stay standing until the Parliament’s summer session ends on July 22 and the next phase of our legislative strategy begins. Staffed by devoted WWP members around the clock, over 4,500 visitors have joined us there so far including MKs [members of parliament], journalists, opinion-shapers, as well as tourists from Israel and abroad who come to the Knesset and stop by out of curiosity. It’s become a platform for deep and open discussions about political alternatives, political strategies, the power and urgency of women’s activism as well as a space for films of inspiration and hope, for ‘craftivism’ (crafts + activism combine in our Piece-for-Peace quilt square project), and for a performance by Yael Deckelbaum, who composed WWP’s anthem, Prayer of the Mothers ensemble on Unity Day.

On 6 June, WWP used the lawn near the Mothers’ Tent opposite the Knesset as a staging ground for celebrating Unity Day. Members and supporters gathered in the Rose Garden to shoulder approximately 150  Piece-for-Peace panels supported by rods (with 25 quilt squares per panel, nearly 4,000 messages for peace sent to us from around the world were represented) for a walk down to the road leading up to Israel’s Parliament. Afterwards, popular singer and worldwide WWP spokeswoman Yael Deckelbaum led a rousing sing-in behind the tent. 

approximately 150 Piece-for-Peace panels (nearly 4,000 squares) were spread on the lawn across from the Knesset on Unity Day

In the Mothers' Tent with one of our hundreds visitors, Rabbi Michael Melchior, a peace activist and former government minister and MP


Gaza border response

We know that bringing a change in reality here is a marathon, not a sprint. We are committed to the idea that the Mothers’ Tent as well as our many ongoing legislative and grassroots activities (see below for updates on just a few of them) as well as four additional, large strategic actions planned for the rest of the year are the most effective way for us to contribute to resolving the conflict. Nonetheless, we’ve added two other initiatives: a national solidarity network that includes a registry of host homes located elsewhere in the country for Gaza border residents in need of respite, and renewed calls to MKs through Samot Lev, our Knesset monitoring team, to prevent further escalation of violence through the examination of political alternatives.

around the world

Peice-for-Peace in event in Mexico

In FRANCE, journalist Martine Gozlan spoke about WWP in an interview published in Le Figaro; a delegation of French architects and economists, having heard about us in France, visited our Mothers’ Tent in Jerusalem in CANADA, Na’amat of Hamilton, Ontario hosted a parlor meeting with one of our members who is currently a visiting professor at York University in MEXICO, Na’amat Mexico City hosted a huge solidarity event, contributing several hundred squares for Piece-for-Peace (the above photo) in ARGENTINA, the mother of an IDF soldier started a group for women in support of WWP, reaching out to the Jewish Agency, Palestinian organizations, and Jewish schools on our behalf in SPAIN, an organizer of last year’s women’s peace march in Seville, in which the Prayer of the Mothers ensemble participated, created a Mothers’ Tent in solidarity.

Thanks to the Facebook groups that have sprung up in support of WWP in various languages and the conversations taking place within them, new initiatives are being generated all over the world, for which we are grateful. Again, here are links to two of those FB groups for worldwide supporters:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/2061438007408025/ (English)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/409435212814766/ (Spanish)

 

about our teams

We plan to introduce you to all our mission-specific and regional teams one by one. This month, please meet our Team for Collaboration with Palestinian Women, now numbering twenty-five WWP members and coordinated by a group of three Israeli women who themselves model the diversity we strive for in all we do. WWP’s original connection to Palestinian women in the West Bank began with the help of ALLMEP’s Regional Director, Huda Abu Arqoub (second from right in the photo), a resident of Dura near Hebron.

Huda has been teaching us the new language of no shaming and no blaming and has also mentored us in what she calls “the politics of acquaintance,” whose goal is to take leave of the slogans that bog us down again and again and to summon instead a sincere curiosity that strives to reveal what we share and what is possible. Stereotypes, she has taught us, thrive where there is no acquaintance; in a politics of acquaintance, we must expect and respect confusion as old labels and narratives fall away. Click HERE for an article in Hebrew (soon to be translated into English) about this team – who they are, with whom they’re in contact, and how they’re proving that the time has come to replace the worn-out slogan, “there’s no one to talk to on the other side.”

 

inside our regions

This month we shine a spotlight on Eilat, situated at the border of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Although Eilat is about 450 kilometers over 200 miles] south of Tel Aviv/the center of the country, the distance does not prevent the women of Eilat from being active in WWP – holding parlor meetings, screening the documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hellabout the women of Liberia, contributing squares to Piece-for-Peace, standing at the entrance to the city during WWP’s monthly “Go in Peace” project, sharing information about the movement and recruiting members throughout the area, and engaging the mayor (who has ideas of his own about how to create regional peace through collaborative activities). The group manages to stay in the loop through WhatsApp, Zoom, and email and even sent a busload of women to last year’s flagship project, the Journey to Peace. Over 250 women are registered as WWP members; 90 women came to a recent event whose purpose was to turn members in name into members in deed. 

a woman waging peace

Liora Hadar, a mother of four who lives in the settlement Alei Zahav, writes: "As someone who lives in Samaria, in a religious Zionist community, it is not easy to talk about Women Wage Peace with friends and family. Nevertheless I believe that the residents of Judea and Samaria – and perhaps especially the residents of Judea and Samaria – should consider the promotion of a solution to the conflict as a top priority. We who live here among the Palestinian villages, who love the Land of Israel and see Judea and Samaria as an area of ​​historical, security and religious importance, must lead the delegation pushing for a plan that will bring about change in Judea and Samaria and the region as a whole. After 51 years of military rule over a civilian Palestinian population without equal rights and whose people are not citizens of the state, something must change. Even elected officials from right-wing parties understand this, and therefore various proposals and initiatives have been proposed to solve the situation.” Liora’s profile continues (in Hebrew; available in English soon) HERE. 

waging peace all the time, all over

cooking workshops for making kataif

What else happened this past month? Here’s a representative list:

Making connections for the sake of peace between us (and not only with our neighbors) included getting acquainted with and listening to the women of Judea and Samaria in – of all places – Sderot near the Gaza border; having a conversation with Buddhist nun Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo about the power of compassion to bring about change; meeting with Imam Adal al-Farar of Lod to learn about the fast of Ramadhan; participating in a Shavuot eve study session in Jerusalem.

Dancing peace in Kibbutz Yizrael brought together Jewish and Arab women who share a commitment to the processes of reconciliation, mediation, cooperation, and mutual acquaintance built on respect and compassion.

Lectures, craftivism workshops, parlor meetings, and film screenings took place in Jerusalem, at the Ofek school in the north; with parents and children in Kfar haRoeh, a religious moshav in central Israel; in a stories-for-social-change session in Tel Mond, also in the center of the country; in a meeting with young people and students who have chosen to live in Lod [next to the country’s main airport]and maintain a communal life there. This past month we were also active in Holon and Tel Aviv, in Ramla in the presence of the mayor, and in Kibbutz Kabri; we screened Pray the Devil Back to Hell about the women of Liberia in Pardes Hanna, Akko, Haifa, Kfar Yassif, Gedera, Ashdod, Shadi Avraham, Yavne and Ramat Gan.

An art fair featuring women artists (with proceeds going to WWP) was held in Beer-Sheva while a photography exhibit of our activities was mounted in Modi’in; a special Ramadan market with the chef Futhana was held in Taibe along with cooking workshops for making kataif. a delicate Arab pancake with a sweet filling (See photo above).

We cycled together for peace in Tel Aviv; we marched for peace in Haifa; we stood at over 150 traffic intersections and shopping malls throughout the country for our monthly “Go in Peace” initiative. And WWP members, holding aloft our signs, accompanied the prestigious Giro D’Italia bicycle race all along its three-day opening course throughout Israel.

Government Relations team members continued their attendance in Knesset committee sessions, and women from all over the country came to the Knesset for a weekly project we call the Women’s Knesset, a day devoted to interaction with decision-makers. 

 

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