We celebrated TalkMatters‘ third birthday in style in June 2023. A brand new venue, chocolate bars and goodies on arrival, seven inspirational five minute illustrated talks, a challenging Q & A session.  And YOU – a fabulous audience.  What more could we ask for!  

Unfortunately there is no recording of this live event, but we will record the next one and post a video on the website. Meanwhile, here is some of the feedback received from our first live event:

  • each of the organisations would have provided a fascinating evening in themselves, so to have them together on one panel was very rich fare indeed – and made for an uplifting and stimulating evening
  • it was one of best of such events I have attended, due in no small part to the excellent way the technical side was handled. Well done! It makes life so much easier and better for presenters when – as last night – the the AV works so well and seamlessly.
  • thank you so so much for such a perfectly arranged event.  Perfect in every way.  You had a full house, an accolade to your marketing skills. A very nice atmosphere.  Everything was thought through, from Daniel’s organizational skills to the bottles of water, the signs and the planning and observance of the time restrictions.  Well done at every level
  • this evening was excellent. It was informative and uplifting and you organised and presented it really well. You have encouraged me to keep spreading the word.

The Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative

“Sport has the power to inspire and unite people”  – Nelson Mandela

We heard how Jane Krivine’s father, Freddie Krivine loved tennis and set up a programme enabling Jewish and Arab children to learn and play together.  After Freddie died, Jane with Lee Wilson and a team of volunteers continued his work.  Now twenty years on, after-school clubs are thriving with children from both communities practising their language skills, playing cards and having fun.  Lee Wilson described the joy felt as the children are joined by their Arab and Jewish parents to celebrate Religious festivals such as Ramadan and Chanukah.  

Wahat al Salam-Neve Shalom Oasis of Peace UK

“I don’t say he is Jewish or he is Arab.  I say your name” – Pupil at the Primary School

Tal Arrowsmith, the Executive Director of Oasis of Peace UK explained how this unique community of Israeli Jewish and Israeli Palestinian Arabs live in a shared, equitable society.  She highlighted the mission of the Oasis of Peace UK –  to support the three educational institutions and told us that the Primary School is the role model for six schools in Israel where pupils are taught in both Arabic and  Hebrew.   

Hezzi Shouster is a resident of WASNS. For many years Hezzi taught at the primary school and more recently became head of the Spiritual Centre where he hosted Jewish & Palestinian authors, introduced cinema evenings and interfaith programmes for religious leaders. Hezzi described his film studies programme in which pupils write scripts, produce, direct and edit material. 

Suliman Boulos is a second generation resident.  He grew up in the village when there were only nine children at the school.  They became and remain very close friends.  He believes that the confidence he gained from his early years in a mixed society enabled him to study medicine.  Answering a question from the audience, he told us that he would love to be able to answer the question “Where are you from?” with “I am Israeli” rather than “I am Palestinian” without people assuming all Israelis are Jewish.

The Abraham Initiative (AI)

Laurie Kaye, Founder of the Abraham Initiatives UK and its first Chairman, told us how the AIUK work to change Israeli Government Policy by demonstrating practical methods for a shared society.  The AI are involved in over 50 joint Jewish and Arab projects working to reduce the  violence in mixed cities, to break down segregation in Israeli schools by introducing Jewish teachers into Arab schools and Arab teachers into Jewish schools and to build up relations with the civil service in order to promote equality for Arab citizens. 

Lindsay Simmonds, Interim co-Chair of the Trustees spoke about how being an observant Jew fits with looking after the minority interest. Lindsay illustrated her talk with biblical examples of social justice and talked of seeing the world through another’s eyes.  

Please support our guest organisations

The evening provided an opportunity to hear from three organisations, each of which is doing wonderful work in different ways. As you would expect, none of this happens without money.
If you want to help, please go to donation pages of their websites: Freddie Krivine InitiativeOasis of Peace UK and The Abraham Initiatives – those pages show how to donate (and include the option of selecting ‘Gift Aid’ too).

Our Speakers and Organisations

The Abraham Initiatives

The Abraham Initiatives (TAI) is one of Israel’s leading shared society organisations. They lobby the Israeli government across administrations in order to influence policy.  Specifically, they are working for greater safety in Arab communities and at the breaking down of segregation in Israeli schools.

Dr Lindsay Simmonds – Co- Vice-Chair of trustees for TAI UK, Lindsay has been on the board for TAI for four years.  Lindsay is a Researcher at the Department of Religion and Global Society at the London School of Economics where her research focuses on Women of Faith and Peacebuilding.  Lindsay is a Fellow at the London School of Jewish Studies where for over twenty years she has focussed on women in Biblical narrative, in the Talmud and in Jewish Law.  Her PhD ‘Generating Piety: Agency in the Lives of British Orthodox Jewish Women’ is being published later this year.  

Laurie Kaye founded the Abraham Initiatives UK in 2006 and was its first Chairperson. He continues as an Ambassador for the organisation and remains committed to the vision of a shared society between Israel’s Arab and Jewish citizens.  Laurie spent his professional career as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property and technology law and was one of the first lawyers in the UK to advise on the legal aspects of the Internet and the World Wide Web. He now acts as strategic advisor to several start-ups.

Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative

The Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative helps to break down stereotypes by bringing Jewish and Arab children together through their interest in tennis. They have access to tennis clubs where children from both communities can meet, play tennis and have fun.  In addition, the Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative holds after-school clubs, summer camps, team building workshops and take groups to watch tournaments together.  

Jane Krivine, formerly a classical music concerts manager and arts festival director, is the Executive Director of the Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative.  Jane’s father, Freddie Krivine (1920-2005) left England to settle in Israel in 1984, a lifelong tennis aficionado, he was elected President of the Israel Tennis Association in 1992.  His dream, he said, was to see an Arab Israeli play at Wimbledon. And to that end he built and supported tennis courts and programmes in predominantly isolated Arab neighbourhoods.  Jane settled in Israel in 2003, first to assist and then to continue her father’s work.

Lee Wilson is a dedicated non-profit professional specializing in Jewish-Arab relationships and peace work. With a background as the Director of International Communications for Peace Now and as a coordinator in the Peace Coalition under the leadership of Dr. Yossi Beilin, Lee has played a pivotal role in raising awareness and support for coexistence initiatives. Since 2019 as the Director of The Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative, Lee has continued to champion the cause, spearheading innovative projects promoting understanding and harmony, including afterschool programmes and shared society summer camps. 

Oasis of Peace UK

Oasis of Peace UK supports the inclusive learning process at the unique village of Wahat-al-Salam~Neve Shalom (WASNS) in Israel where Arabs and Jews live in a shared, equitable society.  There are four establishments – a school for children, an educational institution for adults, a spiritual centre and a youth club.

Tal Arrowsmith is the Executive Director of the British Friends of WASNS. Tal is an experienced charity executive, having worked with various philanthropies, youth movements and grassroot activist groups. Tal was recently nominated for the Future Faces Young Professional of the Year awards for her work in establishing interfaith initiatives.

Hezzi Shouster is a resident of WASNS. For many years Hezzi taught at the primary school.  In 2016, he was appointed head of the WASNS Pluralistic Spiritual Community Centre where he hosted Jewish & Palestinian authors, introduced cinema evenings and interfaith programmes for religious leaders.  Currently he lives in London with his wife Ruti, and he volunteers with the British Friends of WASNS.   

Dr. Suliman Boulos was raised as a second generation resident at WASNS and lived there until the age of 39. Suliman has lived and worked in Germany, South Korea and the UK. Suliman is an Oncologist and the Senior Medical Director at AstraZeneca in Cambridge where he lives with his wife and two children.