FODIP Newsletter February 2021   Dear Friends, Members and Supporters

With the Queen’s message last week urging the population to take the vaccine, we have seen great achievement in the UK, with over 20 million people now vaccinated with their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Numbers of people infected and deaths are decreasing with plans for restrictions to ease and a hope of normality to prevail. The pandemic has brought challenges, loss and difficulties to individuals and to communities; sadly we are seeing an increase in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia with increased opportunity for those who want to exploit, divide and polarise by manipulating information and proactively disseminating conspiracy theories, within and between communities. Celebrating those who have fought against this, promoting togetherness, understanding and  compassion – these are the values that have brought us through this pandemic. The work that FODIP and others like ourselves are doing, promoting greater awareness, mutual respect and humanising each other, are vital.

Israel has been leading the world with their vaccination programme, but not without opposition and questions on responsibility toward the Palestinians. As we move towards rebuilding ourselves and continuing our work towards creating a cohesive society, FODIP staff and volunteers have been able to create opportunities to continue the interfaith dialogue, promoting understanding and creating safe spaces to take part in sensitive discourse in the UK on the issues surrounding Palestine and Israel.

FODIP are delighted to receive a grant from Awards for All through the National Lottery to help us deliver a programme of workshops with young people. Our brilliant Young Ambassadors have been working hard in developing a number of workshops which they will help deliver in May 2021.
More information will be shared in due course.

As we start to experience normality, feel safe and start moving around, FODIP looks forward to re-launching the Study Tour to the region. We will bring more information in the coming months, and if you are interested please feel free to get in touch.

We continue to work with partners from the region, who are dedicated to creating change and transforming the conflict, promoting dignity, safety and equal rights for all involved. One of these is ‘Roots’. Roots is holding a 3-9 kilometre Run for Reconciliation in the Jordan Valley and is inviting the international community to run with them. You can find more information here. If you are interested in taking part, please do get in touch.

Holy sites in Jerusalem were covered in snow this February; the city saw snow for the first time in 6 years. It was a golden moment for many of the locals, who took full advantage to experience the rare occurrence.