Alumni Ponder Diverse Perspectives at HOP’s Jaffa Seminar

Alumni Ponder Diverse Perspectives at HOP’s Jaffa Seminar

An update from Hands of Peace; #Palestine, #Israel

This month, Hands of Peace held a two-day seminar in Jaffa that was attended by 34 alumni from five different years of Hands of Peace. This seminar included three powerful dialogue sessions (up from the typical two dialogue sessions—by request of the alumni!), time to explore Jaffa and go on a boat ride, and the screening of the movie, “Five Broken Cameras,” which tells the story of non-violent Palestinian activists in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

This seminar also exposed alumni to perspectives from diverse organizations. Our alumni asked thoughtful and respectful questions of presenters from Im Tirtzu, an organization that seeks to advance the values of Zionism; Zochrot, which seeks to raise Israelis’ awareness of Palestinian refugee suffering; and Other Voice, an organization that calls for an end to the Gaza blockade and an end to assaults on civilians from both sides. An Israeli member of Other Voice told participants about the impact of rocket attacks on her community and about her vision for resolving the conflict. A Gazan member presented by phone; he told participants about Gaza’s traumatic reality and his reasons for supporting Other Voice.

Alumni came away with renewed hope and inspiration to promote compassion for the “other” side in their home communities. Below are some of their moving reflections; you can read more of these reflections here on our website. If you would like to get regular updates about HOP, please follow us on Facebook. We are continually grateful for your support of our courageous and insightful young peace-builders!

Reflections from Seminar Participants

“One thing I really enjoyed discussing in this seminar was the idea of an army, and what it means to people and how it affects us. Wearing a uniform makes it difficult for others who were personally affected by soldiers to judge them as a human and not as a soldier.”
-Ramzy, 2013 Palestinian participant

“The speaker from The Other Voice was the most meaningful activity for me. I loved how the woman presented her story and her solution to this conflict. It was also the first time I heard a voice from Gaza!”
-Shaked, 2013 Israeli participant

“The most meaningful activity for me was the Im Tirtzu presentation because it was challenging. I do not need someone to agree with me. I need to be challenged by someone who I disagree with.”
-Mohammed, 2011 Palestinian participant, 2012 XL

“The seminars are like my utopia, where everyone can be friends and talk to each other and be happy. After each seminar, I feel more responsibility for what’s happening in my country to the people I love, and to help change it.”
-Hadeel Abu Salih, 2013 Palestinian Citizen of Israel participant

 “Beside the dialogues, the movie screening was really important because of the rough, harsh situation it presented. It showed the reality I never get to see….The Alumni Club seminars give me strength to keep doing what I do despite the criticism I receive. I come out stronger because I know I have a special place out there in the world that accepts me just the way I am. Its name is Hands of Peace.”
-Niv, 2013 Israeli participant