In this issue:help needed for World Peace Day ● WWP’s World Peace Day events ● our first international congress ● meeting with Palestinian women peace activists ● spreading peace by the water ● waging peace all over, all the time ● spotlight on one of our 80 local groups: Laqiya ● a woman waging peace ● spotlight on one of our mission-specific teams: resource development
World Peace Day in Jerusalem marching and singing prayerfully
In 2015, several hundred of us fasted for fifty days one year after the 2014 Gaza War In 2016, tens of thousands joined our March of Hope In 2017, thousands more marched in our Journey to Peace On Sep 20, we’re marching in Jerusalemto a massive sing-in, with our own versions of We Shall Overcome in Hebrew and Arabic
on the way to our Jerusalem march – regional sing-ins on Israel’s borders
We’ve been told that borders can’t be crossed. So we are praying in song that our resolve and our activism will reach across borders to women everywhere. Together, in three languages, this week we’ve gathered at the following border sites:
with Syria, Avital Volcano Park with Lebanon, Hanita Peace Ridge with Jordan, Maoz Haim Observation Tower with Gaza, NirAm reservoir with Egypt and Jordan near Saudi Arabia, Eilat Observation Tower at the West Bank Seam Zone, Um el Fahem
WWP members singing south of Eilat at the border with Egypt
our first international congress Removing Barriers to Middle East Peace
Targetaudience. Young Israelis from allwalks of life, tomorrow’s leaders, joined by experts from Israel and abroad with first-hand knowledge of other conflicts that have been resolved. In line with today’s pedagogy, learning modules will include simulation hackathons; topics will include questions about religion, gender, and trauma as barriers or catalysts to true security; and bridging activities will feature Spoken Word, Video Art, and Playback segments.
Goals. ● creating a partnership with young people who can help raise awareness of the importance and possibility of a political agreement for the future of the State of Israel ● imparting new knowledge, during and after the congress, about solutions to the conflict that can help young people imagine a viable peace-based future ●harnessing decision-makers to work for a political agreement ● positioning the movement as a significant player in promoting a political agreement and advancing the idea of women as initiators and equal participants in the negotiation process
How to help.
● communicate the message of the congress and invite young people you know ● write to us with your ideas and questions at email@example.com
spreading peace by the water
WWP members from the Tel Aviv metro area left the comfort of their homes to sit on mats by the Ramat Gan pond and at Olga Beach up on the coast in order to bring our popular pop-up project from Jerusalem, the Mothers’ Tent, to new audiences. Dialogue circles included local activists, some of whom were concerned first by our presence and then changed their minds thanks to our welcoming, open-minded approach that draws people in rather than pushes them away. For example, an ultra-Orthodox leader, Michal Czernowitzky, spoke about changes in Haredi society and afterwards joined WWP. Arab women who had come to celebrate Eid al-Adha in the park joined our drum circle for peace, shared a favorite song of peace in Arabic, and also registered as members of the movement.Haveyou registered as a supporter (or member, if living in Israel)? If not, click here.
children making Pieces for Peace in Ramat-Gan park with WWP women
creating a dove out of sand on Olga beach
meeting with Palestinian women peace activists
At the end of July, a unique meeting took place in Beit Jalla between members of our Palestinian Relations Team and women peace activists from all over the Palestinian Authority. The purpose of the meeting was to maintain relations between us, particularly at such a challenging time for both sides and especially in light of the events in the Gaza Strip in recent months. We felt it was extremely important to continue to meet brave women on the other side who remain committed to peace despite many challenges. The meeting brought together young women ages18 to 30+ from Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, al Walajah and Beit Jalla with our members for an open discussion about the difficulties and challenges of peace activity at this time and the opportunities that lie hidden within this moment. It was an exciting day, deeply touching, at times sad and not always easy to digest. But we all felt how important it is to speak openly and listen radically. (At the request of our Palestinian counterparts, there are no pictures attached.)
waging peace all over, all the time
We lived up to our tagline,we’re not stopping until there’s an agreement, despite the heat and unrest in our region this past month and the fact that August is prime vacation time.
● Upper Galilee members held a workshop to acquire tools that advance dialogue in the face of resistance and violence
● in order to support voices calling for equality, we joined a special debate in the Knesset on the new Nation-State Law
● Jerusalem area members convened to discuss gender aspects of the Nation-State Law
●one of our Negev regional groups convened a distinguished panel of women candidates for local office to discuss what security means to them and how to implement it if elected
●we continued to stand at dozens of traffic intersections for our monthly Go in Peace project, held parlor meetings and screenings of Pray the Devil Back to Hell throughout the country, and were a consistent presence in many locales, including on the promenade in Haifa and at the Old Station complex in Jerusalem
Go in Peace participants stand at approximately 160 traffic intersections and shopping malls each month, making sure our message travels far
spotlight on one of our 80 regions: Laqiya
WWP has been active in the Bedouin community of Laqiya in the Negev ever since a parlor meeting and screening of the film about the unstoppable women of Liberia Pray the Devil Back to Hell, inspired action three years ago. During last year’s two-week-long Journey to Peace hundreds of marchers from around the country passed through the village, received a warm welcome with helium balloons released by schoolchildren and were further revived by a visit to theDesert Embroiderycooperative.
"I wish the whole movement would come to us every year," remarks Na'ama Al-Sana, the WWP coordinator in Laqiya and founder of the Association for the Improvement of the Status of Bedouin Women. Al-Sana continues, "We need WWP to grow in our communities, too. I think there is much to be done in the Bedouin villages and in the Negev particularly. We are neighbors [with women in Jewish communities] yet we don’t know one another or speak with one another. As residents of the Negev, we have to think about what we can do together, because together we can doa lot.” Read more here.
women waging peace: Donna Kirshbaum
I joined Women Wage Peace in late 2014 soon after the first thousand women gathered in S’derot. Right away, I sensed that women as a group were a truly missing cohort in matters of war, peace, and security and that the question, If not us, then who? was the right one. Yet I found I could not articulate, without resorting to gender stereotypes, exactly why women’s voices were needed. What spectacular luck that Carol Gilligan, the author of profoundly wise books about the nature of, and need for, women’s voices, came to speak at Ben Gurion University the following year!
In my 2015 essay for WWP’s website, “Why Women and Why Now?” I sought to explain how her insights create a firm foundation for our work. I am also very happy to add that Carol has become a mentor to our movement and writes movingly about marching with us to the Tent of Reconciliation for the Daughters of Hagar and Sarah, during last year’s Journey to Peace. Here is that excerpt from her forthcoming book co-authored with Naomi Snider, Why Does Patriarchy Persist? It will be published in English in late November. Read more here.
spotlight on a mission-specific team: resource development
Quietly, five industrious women and one man make sure that we succeed in realizing the dreams and advance the strategies that serve the twin goals of the movement. Given the all-volunteer nature of WWP and thus the fact that the movement operated on a very limited budget, the team was not established formally until the planning stages of our 2016 March of Hope. How the team has learned to raise money, to whom it appeals for help, the lessons it has learned along the way, and its current tasks are enumerated here.