By Irit Hakim, Israel Correspondent for Safeworld
Trit HakimMany Israelis are brimming with energy to make changes more than ever, since the re-election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israeli people are mostly fed up with the government which became extreme-right and very fascist. Human rights are violated, the economic situation is very bad, and occupation hits Palestinians – with a negative influence on the Israeli’s life too.
In recent years there have been social protests – which were led by women, and political protests which were led by leftist parties, with a significant participation of women. There is a very great awakening of women leaders. Not only in politics, but also in social activity.
I recently participated in three events, two of which were led by women.
Women Wage Peace — NGO, Founded August 2014
On Wednesday, 4th March 2015, 3,000 women, children, youth, adults (including a few hundred men) and older women, marched to Jerusalem, to the Knesset (Israeli parliament) Rose Garden. They were women from all of the social and political spectrum, with the message of Women Wage Peace, an NGO:
“For the past 12 years there is a peace initiative by the Arab League to end the conflict. To date, no Israeli government regarded this initiative. Are we sure we’re not the missing partner ourselves? Political agreement is in Israel’s interest, even if it’s hard. It’s our duty to us, to our children, and to the future generations.”
We marched singing peace songs, and calling out rhymed slogans: “One two Three Four – we do not want another war” “Enough! to Binding of Isaac and Ishmael” “Peace is not a dream” and more…
On the flags were prints: “Women Wage Peace” and “Voting for Political Agreement”. Two Orthodox women showed up with T-shirts saying: “Orthodox Women Make a Change – We’ve stopped Waiting.”
A wonderful group of ukulele players and singers accompanied us. They were youth from the Arab village Tira and the neighbouring Jewish city Kfar-Saba, who meet once a week at one of their homes to sing together.
On our way, we saw the Peace Bell – a heavy metal bell, with the word PEACE on it in many languages. It was given as a gift to Jerusalem on its 3,000th anniversary by Japan, in 1996.
It was raining, but nothing would stop us. The air was clear, crisp, and scented. The blooming was colourful. Crows cawed in the grass.
What a beauty!!!
On the grass of the Knesset’s garden, we listened to speeches and to music. Children with flags in their hands walked among us, some in costumes for Purim holiday. A beautiful Bilbi (the Hebrew for Pippi Longstocking, a beloved children’s literature character) – a real redhead with two braids, agreed to pose for me.
Irit Keynan, a professor at the academic college and head of the graduate program for education, as well as head of the Institute for Civic Responsibility, said that for years, we – Israelis – have been immersed in a futile discussion where we convince ourselves that there is no partner for peace and have no choice but to get used to living with the conflict.
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