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Mar 05, 2019, 4 smiles BREAKING FREE, TOGETHER It's a slippery slope when people become so hardened that they lose their empathic capacity. They have also lost their inner empathy….they lose track of what is happening to them, in addition to distancing from the feelings of others. Toward the end of her life, the novelist Anais Nin explained why she had stopped reading the newspaper. "Either I am shattered, or I become hardened. I can't allow myself to do either." We Israelis have allowed ourselves to become hard. Next time you get so furious with someone that you imagine hurting them, check to see how you feel about yourself in those moments. A 19 year old soldier who evades rocks thrown in the casbah of Nablus, day after day, who arrests 11 year old boys in the middle of the night, terrifying the family and dragging the weeping child into a jeep…. What becomes of this soldier's ... Read Full Story


Dec 09, 2018, 4 comments, 7 smiles Over the past several years, it has become commonplace to hear people complain of the many ways that the present government is eating away at the foundations of democracy. Last week, I experienced the force of this process myself. I invited the Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, to read her poetry at the November Sulha gathering. To my joy, she accepted. I assured her that we would take care of her transport from Reina, north of Nazareth. She pushed aside my offer to pay her for the effort. I became aware of Dareen Tatour through the "Ha'aretz" piece about her that appeared in the weekend section in recent weeks. Until then, she had been just another of many Palestinians, oppressed in various ways, that crossed my path in the media. The "Ha'aretz" interview explored with Dareen her trial, arrest and incarceration, both five months in prison and, for two and a half ... Read Full Story


Sep 08, 2018, 1 comments, 3 smiles "Sad," we shared, sitting in a circle, 18 of us, in an event organized by "Sulha," minutes after viewing the film "Oslo Diaries." Reflecting together on the film's rendering of those fleeting, precious moments in Oslo, between 1993-6, we needed to be with others. Shimon Peres' words, in the last minutes of the film, still rang in our ears and hearts….."When you decide to swim across the Sea of Galilee, and in the middle you tire, don't swim back, swim forward…." And despite Shimon's elegant coaching, when the Sulha facilitator asked people to express their feelings in one word, at least half responded with, "Sad." You could see it in the drawn faces around the circle. The pain of re-witnessing such a missed opportunity, a moment when the possibility of a decent future was palpable. The film takes us through the excruciating Oslo meetings, the breakdowns and breakthroughs, the fierce determination ... Read Full Story

Inspiring Link

Aug 20, 2018, 2 comments, 1 smiles The normalization dilemma | Yoav Peck | The Blogs From the blog of Yoav Peck at The Times of Israel

Inspiring Link

Aug 16, 2018, 8 smiles The Sulha Peace Project: Listening for peace - Qantara.de Yoav Peck is director of the Sulha Peace Project, an organisation that specialises in facilitating positive, peaceful encounters between Israelis and Palestinians where the focus is on listening – truly listening – to each other. Marian Brehmer spoke to him about the project


Aug 06, 2018, 10 smiles Today, I helped a 22 year old Palestinian get a permit, despite the fact that he is on some army blacklist, so that he can spend the last days of his wife's life beside her at the hospital in Tel Aviv. She is dying of cancer, and he has until now been prevented from leaving his West Bank village to enter Israel. As a leader at Sulha, an organization that connects people for solidarity building, including bringing Palestinians into the country, I cooperate with the army. Over the years, working relationships with the soldiers at the army permit-office have enabled us sometimes to get through bottlenecks. I didn't do much today. Just contacted a veteran officer who has often assisted us, within the limits of his authority, asked him to take urgent action to get the field office to yield, regarding this young Palestinian. I offered to take personal responsibility ... Read Full Story


Jul 24, 2018, 2 comments, 6 smiles HOPE IN HARD TIMES You can take a guy out of the Berkeley '60's, but you can't take the '60's out of the guy. As a graduate of the California '60's, I still believe in and work for profound social change, I still love flowers, and I still organize peace-gatherings. I cannot grow long hair anymore. I'm 71, but sometimes I wish it was '71 again. In the spring of '71, together with my brother Jon and five others, we had a group that played political rock 'n roll called "Contraband." Our pianist had played with jazz great Chet Baker. We tried to tame him into rock 'n roll, and he pulled us toward jazz. We sometimes found a groove, where the power of the people became a thumping rhythmic melodious harmony, and we felt that anything was possible. The band went acoustic for street-actions, and I remember the Berkeley cops chasing ... Read Full Story


Jul 10, 2018, 1 comments, 8 smiles I have always wondered how it is possible that the Jewish people, including the Israelis, can allow another people to endure what we no longer have to. How strange that just at the 1948 moment when we Jews brought to an end 2,000 years of homelessness, we created homelessness for 700,000 people. We are not to blame, but we ARE responsible. Now the Palestinians are burning our fields and nature reserves, scorching the Israelis' land around Gaza. Hundreds of fires, the news reported tonight that the gazelles had succeeded in escaping one nature reserve fire. We feel for the gazelles, we are relieved they're safe. What do we feel for the people who are burning our fields, and their families in Shuja'iyya neighborhood who are waiting for their three hours of electricity to begin? The ragged remains of bombed-out buildings from the 2014 war, children in the street schlepping carts with jerry cans ... Read Full Story


Jun 07, 2018, 1 comments, 2 smiles This courageous young woman was killed last Friday by one of Israel's snipers. According to witnesses, she was wearing her white paramedic’s uniform, attempting to treat protesters near the fence when she was shot. Her story, her life has gone viral. I look at the interview with her on youtube, I course through her photos, and I'm torn apart. It's as though the Shchina, the feminine embodiment of God, was working there at the border fence, when she was shot. The demonstrations have happened every Friday since Land Day, the 30th of March. We have gotten used to them, no longer headline news. The regularity of massive Palestinian losses is matched only by the total absence of Israeli casualties. And the land, the tortured land. Those fields burning by the border kibbutzim are a child, the child of mother earth, arms yanked by divorced parents, fighting each other for control. These burning ... Read Full Story


May 27, 2018, 2 comments, 3 smiles My Sodastream appliance proffered the last portion of CO2 gas, this evening, to make me soda. Selzer, two-cents-plain. God's most thirst-quenching drink, with a squeeze of lime. I walked to the supermarket with the empty gas canister, and by the time I will have drunk the present bottle, the full gas canister will be ready for making more refreshing soda on these sweltering Jerusalem days. The good life. We Israelis are comfortable, our prime minister is celebrating his various triumphs, business rolls on, folks on my little lane are making supper, the kids are doing their homework. Like serving birthday cake in an old, leaky boat in the middle of an alligator-filled swamp. The plaque from my late father's desk, now relocated on my shelf, says, "When you are up to your ass in alligators, it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp." A Palestinian ... Read Full Story