Israeli Muslim, Christian and Jewish
women work together to advance civil equality. Yet, we still have a gap of understanding each other's inner needs. It is easy
for us to fight together for better jobs, housings, health or education; will we be able to build a stable bridge to combine
our traditions, desires and hopes?
Israelis against oppression and against occupation
Many groups of Left-Wing activists,
Israeli and Palestinians, work together towards Peace. We hurt the injustices taking place every day, the endless killing
and the despair that is spreading throughout Palestine and Israel. We try to promote ideas of sharing and partnership. We
stress to the general public that when we all can see every Palestinian child as the son of a mother who loves him just like
we love our sons, only then, can we truly prevent the killing of children, on both sides.
Terror actions only lead to terror
reactions. In order to build trust we have to work positively by helping, talking, listening, healing, building, feeding….
The Jewish population inside Israel
In the eyes of the outside world we
are often looked upon as 'The Israelis', as if we were a group of five million Jewish twins sharing a huge nationality. Some
will say 'Most of the Israelis', recognizing a bit of diversity caused by the few groups of 'Peace activists'. Usually Israelis
refer to the Peace activists as a group of 'Trouble makers, traitors who prefer to love and understand the enemy rather than
their own blood brothers'.
The Jewish population in Israel is
divided by tradition, by origin, by gender, by location, by political vision, by level of education, by access to health facilities,
by financial position, by skills and by opportunities. We are far from being equal to each other and this is killing our civil
sector from the inside.
If you are born into the 'right' family
your chances to follow their success are good. If you are born into the 'wrong' family, your chances to close the gap of inequality
and reach the fulfilment of your potential skills are very little. This unhealthy social gap is supported by the Israeli government
in order to divide and to rule.
The Israeli government does almost
nothing to close the gap between the rich and the poor. On the contrary, in my opinion, they will do everything in order
to widen the gap. Israeli leaders know that on the day that this gap will cease to divide the population, the war machine
will have no more money, human resources or 'legal cause' to exist. Our rulers fear that a day will come when they will have
to pay for their wrong doings.
It is not so surprising that most
Peace activists are from the middle classes. While at least 50% of the Israeli population comes from Arabic speaking countries,
most of the Peace and human rights activists come from English or German speaking countries.
We have the advantage of being well
educated, live in better financial condition and are in a position to look at the whole picture and cry from anger and frustration.
We try to reach out, to explain that
the outcome of war and of occupation is affecting the Israelis as well as the Palestinians. Their poverty is based on an economic
system that prefers to spend money on war actions rather than on building new horizons to those who have nothing. To us it
is clear that we have to change the whole system in order to finally put the inner problems in the front of the nation's goals.
Yet, we are opposed by very strong forces that will do anything in order to keep our voice shut.
The most frustrating reaction comes
usually from those whose only hope of improving their lives is by accepting the fact that they are sold, time after time,
by the government they elected. The same young men that suffered poverty and inequality throughout their childhood are now
the ones who fill the military field combat units. They are the fuel that makes occupation run and prosper.
In the past we thought that it was
enough to explain “the true facts” in order to change the nation’s state of mind. Now, we know how na´ve
and patronizing we were. Although we might have a better 'formal education' it does not mean that we know better. The only
way of reaching out to others and breaking down walls is thru process that can be accomplished slowly, step by step, by education,
love and understanding. As we all know, even Rome was not built in one day.
National Post traumatic syndrome
I would like to tell you my personal
connection with Post traumatic syndrome. My husband was captured and became a prisoner of war in Egypt during the 1973 war
and like many many other ex-soldiers he suffers from Post traumatic syndrome. This syndrome was not recognized by the Israeli
government for about 30 years. Not having any visible wounds he got no treatment at all.
Those men stopped functioning in their
normal capacities. Most of them lost the ability to proceed with their normal course of life. They could not hold on to a
job, their marriages suffered or even ended and they hardly functioned as fathers. Some became so violent or depressed that
they spent months in mental hospitals. In some severe cases, their children are now parents but the Post traumatic syndrome
was transferred on to them and they also are not able to function.
I believe that most Israelis and Palestinians,
children included, suffer from Post traumatic syndrome. The daily aggressive atmosphere in which we live, the bombings, the
checkpoints, the killings, the house demolitions, the poverty, lead us to aggression, violence, and sadly to say, to loss
Summary and Conclusions
I did not talk about our daily activities
against the occupation.
I did not talk about the activity
of Israeli women of 'Machsom Watch' (Checkpoint Watch) who go in daily shifts to checkpoints, where Palestinians are denied
the right of movement, where they are humiliated by an evil set of laws, where we can help a little, sometimes.
I did not talk about the weekly vigil
of Women in Black that, since 1987, stand silently, dressed in black and hold black signs that read: “Stop the Occupation”.
I did not talk about Israeli groups
that help Palestinian farmers to pick olives from their olive trees, to protect them from being attacked by settlers and prevent
the settlers from stealing their olives while the policemen look aside.
I did not talk about Israeli medical
staff reaching remote villages in the occupied territories, places that have no other access to medical help.
I did not talk about many other Israeli
groups that each found its unique way of helping, and opposing the occupation; of trying to do the little they can to ease
the hardship of the unceasing war.
Instead I have painted gloomy picture
of the Israeli society, torn to peaces by forces that profit from the situation and have no wish to let us rise above the
differences that part us.
Parliaments can gather and decide
on issues of war and peace. They can transfer population, money, water, land, and all sorts of commodities, but in order to
achieve real change we have to work from within, building bridges to connect ex warriors in friendship. These will take years
of hard work but only we can achieve it.
I believe that peace will be a possibility
only as the last step of reaching to each other. I hope that if not me, then my children will be wise enough to continue the
battle for equality, and then, perhaps, they will be able to come to the “Promised Land of Peace”.