After Gaza

Many Jews, Palestinians maintain, create relationships

Monday, 06 April 2009


"Public sentiment is everything.

With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.

Consequently, he who molds public sentiment goes deeper

than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.

He makes statutes or decisions possible or impossible to be executed."

                Abraham Lincoln

     After violence in Gaza and southern Israel, some Palestinians and Jews built new relationships and strengthened old ones.
     They fashioned a new kind of public sentiment - beyond fear, beyond borders, beyond war.
     Some other people found old, worn-out reasons to withdraw from each other, backwards into their own narratives sometimes even out of fear of judgment from "their own" clans defying principles of change and life.


"We cannot make peace with someone whom we refuse to listen to.. .Seeking recognition of

the truths on each side of a conflict - and recognizing that all parties to a war are wounded - is another part of the truth..."

                Gene Knudsen Hoffman

                from Compassionate Listening:

                An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation (2008 - 38 pages)


READ the book at


     Here are five recent examples of people who refuse to become enemies.

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Mira and Noa:  A Palestinian & Jew sing to the world

     "There Must Be Another Way" continues to be sung together by Jewish Achinoam (Noa) Nini and Palestinian Mira Awad.
     WATCH at
     They have been accused of being naive, sympathizers with the "other" side, and unfaithful to their own peoples.
     But the women view their music, presented in a mix of Hebrew, Arabic and English, as breaking barriers.
     HEAR their "Word" at as the prepare to  perform together at this years Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow.

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One Middle East citizen creates two Web havens
for Palestinians and Jews to meet


"Others are affected by what I am, and say, and do.

And these others have also their sphere of influence.

So that a single act of mine may spread in widening circles through a nation or humanity."

        William Ellery Channing


     After the Gaza violence, Elad Vazana ( ) one Israeli citizen created two Web havens for citizens across borders to begin engaging to cure the near-absence of Palestinian-Jewish relationships in the Holy Land and worldwide.


"Bridges of Peace Between Gaza and Israel"

The place for youth from Israel and Gaza

Already with 161 participants, The vision is to create a community of youth who will first communicate then meet face-to-face some day soon.

"Creative ways to build trust & bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians"

There are over 248 participants in Elad's second creative initiative to help citizens finally communicate.

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Hagar bilingual school
students and parents stay close

     Weathering the Gaza war was Hagar School - - the bilingual Arab-Jewish kindergarten in Be'er Sheva.
     Teacher Rada Alubra calls the children to order.
     About half of the 25 children are Jewish, while the others are Arab.
     Alubra reads them a story in Arabic, while Jewish teacher Hanita Hadad interjects periodically in Hebrew.
     The classroom is festooned with pictures of animals, letters of the alphabet and the days of the week, all in both Hebrew and Arabic.
     The Hagar teachers, children, and parents were exemplary together during the war in Gaza, when missiles regularly struck Be'er Sheva.


Arab-Jewish kindergarten is bubble among Be'er Sheva social troubles

Published in Ha'aretz - 04 March 2009


     "In the Negev, Israel's social problems are more extreme, as are relations between Arabs and Jews," said Yifat Hillel, the director of Hagar.
     "The war in Gaza just made the situation worse."
     "But among the parents, we actually felt that we had to pull together, that we were approaching the edge of a frightening abyss and that we had to reinforce the secure place we had created for ourselves," says parent Anis Farhat.
     The parents, both Jewish and Arab, seem convinced that the contact between Arab and Jewish children lets the youngsters oppose extremism.
     One of the Jewish parents, Shlomit Someh-Lehman, commented, "Before my child is exposed to the winds of racism, he knows that Arab means Wasim or any other child at the kindergarten, children just like him."

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Interfaith engagement in England

     In the wake of tragedy and hope, British Muslim and Jewish leaders have come together for interfaith initiatives that are not only important for achieving communal harmony in the UK, but were designed to inspire Middle Eastern political leaders to work for lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.


British interfaith initiatives set example for co-religionists in the Middle East

Common Ground News Service - 24 Feb 2009


     During the Gaza conflict, Britain saw a rise in both anti-Semitic and Islamophobic attacks on ordinary citizens. There was an arson attack on a London synagogue and the daughter of a Muslim leader was attacked in Central London and left unconscious. 
     Despite this tension, however, there were encouraging signs.
     Dialogue between British Muslims and Jews, which has too long been stifled by the elephant in the room the Arab-Israeli conflict actually became more forthright, with greater attempts to harmonise theological and political positions.

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Hundreds of Muslims, Jews join in Arizona

     In Tucson, Arizona, the Annual Jewish-Muslim Peace Walk began as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


250 attend 6th Annual Jewish-Muslim Peace Walk

Tucson Citizen  -  March 08, 2009

     Since that day there has been much more dialogue and understanding between Jews and Muslims in Tucson and all over North America.