Dear TalkMatters Supporters,

The situation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank continues to be desperate.  The fear of what could happen tomorrow does not go away.  And yet today we bring you a kind of success story.  Immediately after the Hamas Massacre and the subsequent Gaza war, we wrote to all TalkMatters initiatives to offer support, to re-affirm our friendship and to find out how they were coping.  The response, as you can imagine, was bleak.  A typical response being ‘Nothing is happening right now, we are still trying to understand what we should do, how and when’.  But as you will read in our update below these inspirational people did not give up.   

We have received a letter from Mohammad Fahili, Director of the Arab-Jewish Community Centre telling us of co-operation between Jews and Arabs in the mixed city of Akko.  Facts never mentioned in UK media!

The Teachers’ Lounge tells us how they are planning and are already delivering programmes adapted to the present cruel circumstances. 

Ever aware of the impact of the Hamas Massacre and the on-going war on our faith communities here in the UK, we  bring you an article by TalkMatters supporter and Church Minister David Kibble entitled ‘Does Gaza represent an existential crisis for Interfaith relations?’

Faith groups in a silent peace walk, January 2024. Pic: Liberal Synagogue/Plum Village UK

At this time of high level anxiety and fear, our job is to tell the stories of the inspirational people and their co-operative initiatives be they music, ecology, high-tech, religion, etc. These initiatives enable Palestinians and Israelis to engage with each other, to listen, to talk and to build up trust.  Through raising their profile here in the UK, TalkMatters helps to counteract the increase in antisemitism and islamophobia that arises through pure ignorance and stereotyping – often never having met either a Palestinian or an Israeli.   The more that the UK public know about Israelis and Palestinians, the better: informing them of the true situation reduces the harmful impact of ill-informed and divisive chants and slogans – both on our streets and on-line.  

Our upcoming visit to Wahat al Salam / Neve Shalom
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 andArabslive 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

If you think TalkMatters is important, please share one of the videos below, where Israelis and Palestinians talk about their pain, experience and joint efforts in response to the on-going crisis.  Please also 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 Sir Charles Clore Jewish-Arab Community Center

The Center provides low-cost child care to Arab and Jewish children under three allowing mothers to work. Activities for hundreds of children also run six days a week after school.  A new youth program is being developed to strengthen local Arab youth, putting them on a par with their Jewish counterparts with a longer term view to joint activities,  Women’s activities focus on empowerment and education in areas such as nutrition, child-rearing in the 21st Century and knowing their rights under the law.

The Akko Arab-Jewish Community Centre  is in our directory has their own website and joined us for a webinar in August 2021  There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.  

The Teachers’ Lounge

The Teachers’ Lounge – in memory of Shira Banki – creates an inclusive, respectful and multicultural meeting space for groups of Jewish and Arab teachers operating in Jerusalem, Ramla, Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the Western Galilee. The programme brings together teachers for ten experiential, thought-provoking and inspiring meetings. Thus leading to in-depth interactions between the participants, a result of honest conversations based in mutual respect. As part of the programme, the teachers visit each other’s schools and homes, and tour their respective neighbourhoods, streets and markets.

The Teachers’ Lounge is in our directory, has their own website and joined TalkMatters for a webinar in September 2022.  There are details of how you can donate to help support their work on this page of their website.

Does Gaza represent an existential crisis for interfaith relations?

Article from January 2024 which was in the Jewish News, written by TalkMatters supporter and Leeds Church Minister David Kibble

Faith groups in a silent peace walk, January 2024. Pic: Liberal Synagogue/Plum Village UK
  • David Kibble is a retired deputy headteacher from Huntington School in York and a licensed lay minister at St George’s Church in Leeds

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. 

Thank you for your support.

Here’s to better times,

Jenny and the TalkMatters Team.