Anat Cohen could well be described as a poster girl for Women Wage Peace, an Israeli grassroots movement officially launched today. The 52-year-old mother of two lives in working-class Holon, where she runs a Pilatus studio. More importantly, she does not vote for the left. In fact, she has always cast her ballot, she said, for Shas, the Orthodox Sephardic party.
But that didn’t stop Cohen from joining hundreds of women aboard a train traveling south to the Gaza border town of Sderot, where they hoped to make their voices heard. Their message: Israel and the Palestinians must restart peace talks immediately, and this time around, women need to be sitting at the negotiating table.
“For me, a peace agreement is not a matter of right or left,” said Cohen, as the train reached its final destination and she joined the long line of women making their way by foot from the Sderot station to Sapir Academic College, where the kick-off event was held. “I’m convinced that a peace agreement, no matter what kind of agreement, is a good thing.”
According to the event organizers, roughly 1,000 women from around the country participated in the opening ceremony held on the lawn of the Sapir campus, among them about 700 who had traveled by train to Sderot. The ceremony on the lawn was followed by a panel discussion on the role of women in peace negotiations.