Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

The fear of what will happen next sits with us all as the war escalates and the politicians continue to disagree on the way out of this mess.  This tragedy is not going to end soon.  For us all there is now more and more pressure to take a stance – to be pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli.   Even within our own faith communities there is conflict.  Islamophobia and antisemitism are at a high.  Training for teachers to deal with ugly situations in the classroom is in greater demand than ever.   

TalkMatters remains one of the few spaces for people who want to resist the pressure to take sides.  Everyday stories of humanity can change how we hear and move us towards learning from both narratives.  TalkMatters can help us to hold more than one view in our heads.   To understand nuance and to have the imagination to believe in hope.  Not an ephemeral sort of hope.  Hope without concerted effort is not going to get very far.  Our hope is realistic.  TalkMatters supports the initiatives, be they music, ecology, high-tech, religion, etc. that enable Palestinians and Israelis to connect with each other’s pain and suffering.  

I am once again thankful for TalkMatters’ community of cooperative Israeli Palestinian initiatives that cultivate empathy and open communication.  A long, slow process but the only way forward: building bridges of compassion and understanding together with, of course, a massively needed new political direction.

This week’s update focusses on The Abraham Initiative (TAI) and the Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA).  Both initiatives inspire hope as they continue to work despite the war that overshadows life for Israelis and Palestinians. 

Another reminder that TalkMatters together with Oasis of Peace UK are looking ahead to better times.   We are planning our next interfaith trip to Wahat al Salam/Neve Shalom (WASNS)/Oasis of PeaceThis is a wonderful initiative that I have been involved with for a very long timeIt is a village that supports three educational institutions half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv where Jews and Arabs live in a shared, equitable society.  Postponed since last November due to the war, we are hoping to visit this November.  Please join us.  To register your interest and/or for more information please contact hello@talkmatters.info or office@oasisofpeace.org.uk

The Daily Telegraph published an article on Monday titled “Inside the only place in Israel where Jews and Arabs choose to live together” about the effect on the community of the October 7th massacre and the subsequent war, following the coverage that WASNS already had on Radio 4 last week.

If you think TalkMatters is important, take a moment right now to send this link to your family WhatsApp group, or please pass this email on to friends and colleagues and invite them to join the TalkMatters mailing list

All good wishes, Jenny and the TalkMatters Team.

The Abraham Initiatives (TAI)

Since 1989 TAI has worked on creating a more collaborative and equal shared society between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens. In so doing, TAI fulfils the vision of the Declaration of the State of Israel which envisioned Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people and a Democratic State for all its citizens.  TAI operates programmes in several focus areas, including ‘Education for a Shared Society’ , ‘Building Safe Communities’, ‘Media in a Shared Space’  and ‘Leadership for a Shared Society’ .  

The Abraham Initiatives in our directory,  has their own website and joined us for our first live event after Covid in June 2023. There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.  The policy report is available here and the crime and violence report is here.

Interfaith Encounter Association (IEA)

The Interfaith Encounter Association uses interactive interfaith dialogue as its vehicle to promote genuine coexistence and sustainable peace . The apolitical and all-inclusive approach of the organization and its activities enable the successful participation of a wide range of participants.

The Interfaith Encounter Association is in our directory, has their own website and joined us for a webinar in October 2020.  There are details on this page of their website which show how you can donate to help support their work. 

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. 

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Thank you for your support.

Jenny and the TalkMatters Team.