Dear Friends,

My trip to Israel for Passover, Easter and Eid 2023

I’ve just returned from a five week stay in Israel.  Full of mixed emotions.  Excited to see democracy at work with hundreds of thousands of Israelis – Jewish and Palestinian citizens – taking to the streets to protest a proposal by the far-right coalition government to severely weaken the judiciary.  But angry to see the internal domestic situation used by extremists on both sides to create terror and violence.  Sad to hear sirens wailing and people standing in the streets to remember the six million men, women and children who died in the Holocaust.  And more sirens, sadness and grief at the Memorial Day for soldiers who have died in action and for the victims of terrorism.   And again, sadness and grief but this time mixed with a little hope at the joint Memorial Day Ceremony where over 15,000 Israelis and Palestinians gathered in-person to choose peace rather than revenge, and reconciliation instead of violence. 

An Israeli, a Druze and an English woman

During this eventful time I visited some of the projects that TalkMatters promotes.  Among them our newest – the Freddie Krivine Tennis Initiative that brings young Jews and Arabs together to play tennis, make friends and have fun.  I met Moran Maimoni, co-Director Public Affairs of the Abraham Initiatives and heard how they are working for greater safety in Arab communities and at the breaking down of segregation in Israeli schools. I also met Doubi Schwartz to thank him for the support TalkMatters has received from The Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP) and to talk about future cooperation. 
TalkMatters is more important than ever.  It is vital that more and more Palestinians and Israelis have the opportunity to get to know another human being with a background different from their own.  To open their eyes to the growing extremism around them and to take a more balanced approach.

We are back to work at TalkMatters – next week we’ll be announcing our first live in-person event, where speakers from three of our associates will give short illustrated talks on the evening of Thursday 15th June in Stanmore, north west London. Please save the date!

Jenny Nemko