Peace? In Israel? A few weeks ago I discovered about a movement, that has been active, it turns out, since 2014. The movement is named “Women Wage Peace” (נשים עושות שלום; نساء يصنعن السلام) and it is led by decisive women, Israelis and Palestinians, who want to stop the violence between our two nations.
During two full weeks this October, thousands of women and men marched throughout Israel, as part of the “March of Hope”. The goal – to activate pressure on the two leaders, Netanyahu and Abu Mazen, to get to a peace agreement. I sadly couldn’t make it to any march, but yesterday I did attend an interesting event of “Women Wage Peace” – the screening of the film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”.
The screening took place in Cinemateque Jerusalem, a cute movie theatre near the First Station in Jerusalem. I made my way there by bus and accidently got down at the wrong station, so I had to walk through the First Station to get there. Then I found out that another march was going on that day- “The Jerusalem March”, which is an annual event. I saw a group of marchers from Brazil and some marchers from Japan. It seemed like I arrived just at the end of the march. It was a nice thing to see…
And then I got to Cinemateque. I thought that not a lot of people would come to the screening, but surprisingly, the movie theatre was quite full. There were mainly elder people. And then the head of the Central Branch of the movement got up on the stage and introduced herself and the movement a bit, and talked about Sukot and the “Peace Suka”. She said that she was really excited to be there that evening and that the rally, which took place the day before, in front of the Prime Minister’s House in Jerusalem, was a huge success. 20,000 people took part in that rally! That’s a huge number. Last year, she said, they were only 3,000 people in the rally.
So, after the introduction, they played the documentary film, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, which tells the story of the women of Liberia, who did everything to finish with the civil war that took place in Liberia for years. They didn’t stop until they achieved their goal. They couldn’t watch more children die. Read more about their action here. The film was screened as an inspiration for us. If they could do it, why won’t we be able to achieve peace? The situation in Liberia was much worse than what’s going on here… here it’s a piece of cake compared to the civil war that took place in Liberia.
After the screening, they showed us Leymah Gbowee’s speech from the rally the other day. To sum it up, she said that we need to know each other. We – the Palestinians and Israelis – have many stereotypes about each other, which make us recoil from each other. We should speak with one another, get to know each other, understand that we both are human beings and we both have hearts and feelings and hopes, and only after we’ll trust each other and understand that we both have compassion, will we be able to make peace. She’s right. We know nothing about each other, and I suppose that both sides live in an environment that encourages fear of the other side. The newspapers are full of it, the leaders aren’t pushing us to get to know each other, but rather to stay apart, and in schools, they don’t teach us about the other’s culture, they don’t talk with us about hope, they don’t encourage us to love. And love is the key here.
People will doubt us, they will discourage us, but if we’re serious about this, we’ll get that peace agreement. The two nations have power. If the people will want peace, it doesn’t matter what the leaders want – they’ll have to fulfill the wishes of the two nations.
Watch the full Women Wage Peace Rally here (in Hebrew, but you can get the atmosphere from the photage):
Wish us luck!
P.S – I must share a funny (and dissapointing) moment with you! I wanted to double check how to write “decisive women” in English, so I wrote the word in Hebrew in Google and beside it “translation”. Google decided that I don’t want to know how to say “decisive women”. Instead, it decided to show me the results for “hopeless women”. That was unbelievable! It seems like Google doesn’t think women can be decisive. Well, it’s very wrong!