About 100 women from the Hosen Center in Ofakim and from Women Wage Peace met in Lili’s yard at the Beit Halevy moshav for a marvelous and moving meeting. They discussed independence, family, community, leadership, pain and joy – in short: life. The discussion was led by Yahaloma Zakut, the founder of the Hosen Center and Lili Weisberger from Women Wage Peace. This was the third meeting of “Israeli Salad”; each time it keeps expanding!
Yahaloma: “Israeli Salad” is society’s need for a new type of dialogue. Women from all over the country are formulating both a personal and communal identity. Connecting with women from various places opens up channels of communication; meeting women from different backgrounds inspires the women towards a novel and joint vision.
The source of this vision is not knowledge, personal background, or academic and professional prestige. The joint vision stems from an open heart, from internal and external listening, and from sensing the other person. When each of us can understand that there is no one truth, that there is a mosaic made up of people who look different from one another, think differently and live in different places, then we will be able to create , through joint efforts and dialogue, communal values and hope for the coming generations.
The polarity in Israeli society is based on an “old” dialogue, where people take a stand, build walls and stay stuck in their own narrow and comfortable world. Israeli Salad is our way of creating a new dialogue. Polarity will become diversity. The differences between the center of the country and the periphery, between left and right, between religious and secular, between Arabs and Jews won’t disappear, but relationships can exist without bias, without the arrogance of justice and truth, but rather through listening which can allow for closeness and solidarity. As with a salad, each part maintains its own special taste, but together they form a human texture which strengthens Israeli society and forms the basis of cooperation in times of need.
How do we create a new reality, a new Israeli dialogue? Not from a place of “strong” and “weak” or “miserable”, but from a non-judgmental stand of curiosity and empathy towards the other person. Therefore, first of all, we meet; women from all over the country and then, through an empowering dialogue, we learn about the strengths of each woman, of the common pain, and of the joy of life. Part of the dialogue includes joint meditation and listening to our internal selves. Meditation enables each person to find her own place, to accept herself and then to advance towards a personal and communal freedom.
Many look for solutions to conflicts in research and knowledge. It is true that knowledge can enrich and eliminate ignorance, but it does not add pleasantness to man’s nature and it doesn’t help to get rid of our weaknesses. Strengthening and enriching the self will allow for personal freedom, acceptance of someone who is different, compassion and a dialogue of love.
As residents of the South in Israel we also considered behavior during emergencies. We believe that when the women who ‘mix the salad” get to know each other, this will lead to a feeling of obligation to host each other during emergencies. Women who live in the North will host women from the South in times of emergency and vice versa.
Independence Day is a symbol of personal and spiritual freedom as individuals, independence to be free, to control our fate in the present and to create a future of hope for the coming generations .Only when each of us feels free can we create a collective of an independent nation. Peace depends on us. Wars and crises express the differences that exist between people. If we make peace within ourselves, if we open out hearts to a dialogue of love, we will also achieve freedom and peace between communities and nations