Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

And so the war in Gaza continues and with it continues the sadness and anger that so many innocent men, women and children must suffer.  This is TalkMatters’s ninth update and as the weeks go by, I am receiving comments that demonstrate how polarised UK society is becoming.  One supporter told me that I have not expressed enough rage at what Hamas has done.  Another supporter asks why I do not speak more about what is going on in Gaza.  To everyone I say that TalkMatters is here to show how moderate Israelis and Palestinians – Jews, Muslims and Christians – are coping with the many co-operative grassroots initiatives that we support. TalkMatters is not here to make a political judgment. 

At this critical time, the only sure conclusion is the absolute necessity to provide opportunities for more people from different communities to meet, talk, listen and build up trust.  These people are our hope for the future.  Practising criminal barrister and television personality Rob Rinder reinforced this message at a lecture I attended during the week.  He spoke about Wahat al Salam-Neve Shalom (WASNS) –  the village in Israel where Jews and Arabs have lived since the 1970s in a shared, equitable society.   He said that there is no future unless we can teach people to share.  He said that WASNS is the proof that it can happen and that those who say there is no hope have no imagination of what is possible.

The inspirational JYC will be performing in Washington, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Boston this month – see their update below

Below are more examples of what is achievable – invitations to join webinars with Roots and the Interfaith Encounter Association, and updates from Jerusalem Youth Chorus and Parallel Histories..

Finally, I can highly recommend Bicom‘s podcast (Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre) in which Jack Omer-Jackaman speaks to Mohammad Darawshe, a leading expert on Jewish-Arab relations.  Amongst other topics, they discuss the high levels of national Israeli identification amongst Arab-Israelis since the Hamas massacre, and the future prospects of Arab-Jewish cooperation in Israel.  You can listen, free, here.


Roots is a Palestinian Israeli Initiative in the Gush Etzion-Bethlehem-Hebron area. Roots works to nurture understanding, non-violence and personal transformation between Palestinians and Israelis in order to advance the two peoples towards a new social and political reality founded upon dignity, trust, and mutual recognition and respect for both peoples’ particular historic belonging to the entire land.

This zoom event is FREE, but pre-registration is required

You’re invited to a Zoom presentation on Sunday, December 10 at 18:00 UK time, 20:00 Israel time:

Israel-Palestine: The Mood on the Ground, the Way Forward, Prospects for the Future
New Insights with Noor Awad and Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger

The Roots Zoom event is FREE, but pre-registration is required – please click the link above or below to register.

Roots is featured in our directory and has their own website and they joined us for a webinar with Muswell Hill Synagogue in April 2021.  There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.  Register for their Zoom event on Sunday 10th using this form.

Interfaith Encounter Association

Since 2001, the  Interfaith Encounter Association has been building peaceful inter-communal relations in the Holy Land by nurturing mutual respect & trust via active interfaith dialogue all over Israel and Palestine.

Interfaith Talks is a multi-episode series which will bring together religious and cultural leaders from across The Holy Land and beyond, to engage in collaborative public discussion. Creating a powerful, interfaith voice for mutual respect, cooperation, and unity in the face of this unprecedented crisis of war.

Each episode will be live streamed to a domestic and international audience on multiple channels, including Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube. Link for registration

Jerusalem Youth Chorus

The Jerusalem Youth Chorus is an Israeli-Palestinian music and dialogue project that brings young people from East and West Jerusalem to grow together in song and dialogue since 2012. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, they empower youth in Jerusalem with the responsibility to speak and sing their truths, as they become leaders in their communities and inspire singers and listeners around the world to work for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.

Dear JYC Global Family,

We want to share a moment of light with you—a text we received from one of our singers today:

“One of my new JYC friends and I were talking in the car after rehearsal this week, and we wanted to tell you something: we really love about the chorus, it’s like our second home. Because of this, it’s not enough for us to just have one meeting a week. Now, it’s a war time, so maybe this makes it impossible to meet more often, but maybe in the future, we can meet twice a week?”

Voices of Hope and Determination
We’re thrilled to announce that our Executive Director, Amer Abu Arqub, just landed in the United States for a musical speaking tour!  Micah and Amer will visit the below cities in the coming weeks, convening gatherings that will help us keep our common humanity at the center even in these times. 

Washington, DC | 12/9 at 4:00pm in Mount Pleasant
Washington, DC | 12/15 at 12:00pm in Georgetown
Chicago | 12/11 at 6:00pm at the Chicago Cultural Center with Uniting Voices
New York City | 12/13 at 6:00pm on the Upper West Side
– Los Angeles | 12/17 at 4:00pm at Temple Beth Am
Los Angeles | 12/19 at 6:30pm in Beverly Hills
Boston | 12/20 at 7:00pm at the Emmanuel Center on Newbury Street

We invite you to join us this December to share in the songs and stories of JYC as we raise voices of hope and determination that we can create an alternative to the cycle of violence. Our engagements are experiential and participatory and include storytelling, performance, conversation, and community singing in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We hope that all attendees will leave inspired and more equipped, despite all that is unfolding around us, to keep our hearts open to one another.

Thank you for being part of our community even in the hardest times.  Hoping we might get to see you in December!

In song, as ever,
Micah, Amer, and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus

Please let us know if you’re interested in learning more and/or attending one of these events by filling in the form linked below. We can’t wait to meet you in person.

Register your interest in the US tour events or JYC’s activities using this Google Form. The Jerusalem Youth Chorus is featured is featured in our directory and has their own website.  Micah Hendler, Amer Abu Arqub and Shifra Jacobs joined us for a  musical webinar in February 2022. There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.

Parallel Histories

Parallel Histories promotes a new way to teach the history of conflict.  It provide free educational videos which tell the history of Israel and Palestine as two competing narratives. Students are challenged to critically evaluate the evidence and arguments on both sides and come to their own view. These interactive videos and lesson plans are freely available on the website

Historic conflicts are undermining our social cohesion. We have seen recently how one-sided narratives can fuel anti-semitism and Islamophobia. Social media amplifies discord. The promotion of understanding and unity is more urgent than ever. 

Parallel Histories is bringing the study of these conflicts into the classroom. We are enabling young people to learn different perspectives on the conflicts. We are giving school students the skills to critically evaluate the evidence and form their own opinion. We are enabling the students to become active citizens in healthy democracies. 

We have trained 70 teachers in our methodology, in the last six months, and 302 young people have benefited from our debating programme. We have worked with PwC, the Naval Children’s Charity and Good Relations Week.
It’s been heartening to hear from so many of you over the last six weeks with messages of support for our work. 

Parallel Histories is featured in our directory and has their own website.  There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.

Please pass on this information

Please pass on this information to your friends and colleagues.  Please talk about the human stories that we share with you. In the horrendous circumstances we all find ourselves, TalkMatters continues to introduce the UK public to the people who refuse to see one another as enemies.  We believe in supporting the grass-roots work in Israel and Palestine and we know that it is only by working together with you – our UK supporters – and with our Israeli-Palestinian Associates that we can ever walk another path.  A path that leads to a future of peace, justice and equality for everyone. 

If you didn’t receive this newsletter by email already, please subscribe!

We send out a weekly newsletter like this, and run our own in-person and online live events – we’d love to be able to keep you up to date!  Please subscribe to our free mailing list using the form on this page.

Thank you for your support.

Here’s to better times,

Jenny and the TalkMatters Team.