Translated from Hebrew by Haya Raveh
The film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”, about Liberian women who fight for peace in their country, continues its journey around Israel. In the last two months, thousands of women and men, in communities from Beit Jan in the north to Eilat in the south, have watched the film. After the screening, participants talked about their impression and the lessons learned from the film. Many came out encouraged by the ability of a society in general and women in particular to influence government policy. In recent weeks the film has been screened in Sderot, Bakka El Garbiya, Yavneh, Carmiel, Tel Aviv, Emek Hefer and other places. More details and screening schedule (Hebrew) can be found on Women Wage Peace Website and Facebook events page.
New Steering Coordinators
As reported in the previous newsletter, a wide steering team named “Tzevet Hame’ah” (the Hundred Team) is out and running. The first mission was electing new Steering coordinators. Four activists were chosen: Tami Ben-Porath, Hadassa Naveh, Amal Abou Ramadam and Roni Felsen. Congratulations to the new coordinators and heartfelt thanks to the ones who are leaving – Richab Abed Alchalim, Sheli Forman Assa, Hadar Klooger, and Vardit Kaplan. They all worked vigorously, wisely and sensitively for strengthening, widening and promoting our Movement
The Roaming Ten Initiated its Journey in Sderot
As reported in the previous newsletter, the Roaming Tent initiated its Journey in Sderot and was hosted there for two days at the end of November, simultaneously with Sderot Convention that took place at Sapir College nearby. As part of the preparations, The Tent Team visited Sderot several times and (not easily) made contacts with women, officials, organizations and voluntary associations in town. The tent was erected in the open space in front of Town Hall, a location where traffic of people is negligent, which resulted in poor number of visitors on the first day. However, on the second day the Mayor and his Deputy, the chairperson of the Regional Council Sha’ar Hanegev and representatives of groups and voluntary associations in Sderot and Ofakim, visited the tent. Among others, there were activists from Naámat, from the Center for Aid in Emergency, from Women for Gender Equality and a group of “Women Cook a Story” who fed us with tasty foods made in their kitchens. At present, the Tent Team is working on learning the lessons from the first event. Following the tent event, the film of the Liberian women was screened in Sderot cinematheque, where hundreds of people attended.
Women’s Role in the Peace Process in Northern Ireland
On November 30th Minerva Center for Human Rights at The Hebrew University, hosted Professor Monika McWilliams, a political activist who led groups of women and took part in the peace process between the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland, a process that ended up in signing the “Good Friday Agreement” in 1998. The women had an important role in the reconciliation process that ended a long and bloody conflict which had lasted hundreds of years. The lecture Professor McWilliams gave, was filmed as part of a film production about McWilliams activities for human rights and for peace. Upon its completion, it may come out for screening in Israel.
A Meeting with Diplomats from Europe
On Friday, November 12th, a delegation of Women Wage Peace – Vardit Kaplan, Pascal Chen, Vivian Silver and Hadassa Naveh (women from the Cooperation Team and Steering Coordinators in the past and at present) – met with the ambassadors of Finland, Ireland, Slovenia and Estonia. The meeting took place at the ambassador of Finland’s house. Attaches from the Danish and the Swiss embassies were present as well. The delegation presented the Movement, its goals, its strategy, the work that had been performed and the importance of women taking part in processes of settling conflicts, according to the UN resolution 1325. The foreign delegates were impressed by the heap of activities WWP have already performed and expressed their hope that the targets of our movement will soon be obtained.
— Waging Peace around Israel
The Peace Group at Carmiel Junction is Celebrating One Year Anniversary
December 18Th was the one year anniversary of the activists at Carmiel junction. Every Friday afternoon the activists stand at Carmiel junction reminding the drivers who pass by that only a political agreement will reduce hate and violence and will enable normal life for all Israeli residents. Every week, sunshine or rain, they come and stand at the junction, carry signs, hand out leaflets and blue ribbons to drivers and passengers at stop lights and talk with them. “Last week, as always, it was encouraging to see the smiles, to hear the support and hope that we give people. Only few drivers did not open their car window. After, we went to “Café Nemesh”, had a drink and promised ourselves that if a peace agreement was not going to be signed within the coming year… we would continue standing at the junction every week and in a year we would drink again to mark two years to Women Wage Peace at Carmiel Junction. Reported by Hana Ben-Yosef
The Liberian Women visited Eilat
On November 11, 2015, a screening of the inspiring film about the Liberian women, took place at the Dolphins’ Reef in Eilat. 175 men and women, from Eilat and the surrounding kibbutzim, attended the screening. Special guests were students from The Arava Institute. Among them were Palestinians from Jericho, Hebron and Jordan. The place was packed and about twenty people had to be turned away. At the end of the screening was a discussion, led by Dina Ben-Yakar and Ofra Avni. During the evening 100 men and women enrolled! Following the screening, 3 articles were published on the local media and a home meeting took place in Samar for the Arava women. On December 28th, a meeting for members from Eilat took place at The Moroccan Federation Building with the intention of expanding the diversity of participants. Reported by Ilana Diamant
Screening in Yavneh
In a very rainy night, (December 17th) over 150 men and women gathered in a club in Yavneh to watch the wonderful film about the determined fight of the Liberian women, to bring to an end the cruel war in their country. There was a warm (and sweet) welcome by the local activists and we were happy to see new faces in the audience. After the screening many people took part in a discussion, led by Hamutal Guri. Hamutal, who had watched the film number of times, said that each time she watches the film, she gets new insights: ”I was touched by the part where Lyma says that they were inspired by Queen Ester. It created for me a strong tie with traditions of courage and devotion of women over generations around the world”. During the discussion, participants analyzed the situation in our country verses the situation in Liberia and made comments and recommendations for further activities of the Movement. They also expressed fears concerning the future and called out for actions. Reported by Me’ira Fribman