I’ve just come off the phone upset and saddened to the core. As you know, we have been reporting on our many Associates in Israel and Palestine since this nightmare began nearly four weeks ago. It has been dreadful but today’s news is worse than ever. Chief Executive Yael Noy of Road to Recovery told me that many of their volunteers were in the Hamas massacre on Saturday 7th October. Road to Recovery is an organisation of about 1300 volunteers donating time and the use of their own vehicles on a regular basis to transport Palestinian patients and their family guardians between the Gazan and West Bank checkpoints and hospitals all over Israel. In their update below you will see a list of people who have been murdered and a list of those missing.
Astonishing response in the face of Hamas’s brutality
What is truly amazing is that Road to Recovery are still up and running. In our telephone conversation, Yael told me that every day, since the first day of the war, a group of 130 volunteers drive Palestinians from the West Bank to Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv and the Rambam in Haifa and back again. One volunteer who is in mourning and not able to drive said to Yael ‘Please don’t stop the drivers’. I asked Yael what their Palestinian passengers say about the war. Her answer has a message for us all. ‘The thing that I’m most angry about is their silence. But I feel I must carry on to save my own humanity’.
What’s happening in the U.K.
Here is the UK we see death and destruction nightly on our television screens and on social media. We see the misery and unhappiness that war brings to the people of Gaza and Israel. We observe an ugly growing division led by cheerleaders who believe that they are right and the other side is wrong. We see aggressive language and behaviour that stirs up fear and hatred in people who don’t even know much about Israel and Palestine. There is ignorance of the underlying complexity and a blindness to take on board that ‘the tragedy of this conflict is that it’s a clash of two just causes’. (Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian 28th October)
We are not silent.
In this situation the best thing that TalkMatters can do is to continue showing support for the grass-roots work in Israel and Palestine. And to continue to introduce the UK public to the people who refuse to see one another as enemies, and who, against all the odds, are working to build a future of peace, justice and equality.
In this situation the best thing you can do is to pass on this information to your friends and colleagues. Please talk about the human stories that we share with you. One of our supporters wrote to say that she did just that. Last Sunday she told her church congregation about her visit with us to Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam and then read out TalkMatters latest update.
If you are in London on Thursday 30 November, please join me at the 14th Rueff lecture hosted by our Associate, Oasis of Peace UK. Rob Rinder MBE will speak on “A holy Land for Us All’. This is hugely relevant and I’m sure will be interesting and thought-provoking to all. More details here.
Abrahamic Reunion’s prayer vigil
The Abrahamic Reunion are continuing their vigil. If you would like to express solidarity, togetherness and hurt without a political opinion this is the place to do it. Details below.
An update from Road to Recovery
Yael’s introduction to Road to Recovery’s work
Road to Recovery is an organization entirely dedicated to assisting Palestinian patients who require medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. While any lifesaving treatment regimen is complex emotionally and financially, it is particularly burdensome for this population, as in addition to all of the expected burdens of caring for a sick family member, these families face additional barriers such as Israeli security restrictions, border crossing and more. Since there is no public transportation from the checkpoints to the hospital, for many patients, whose treatments require multiple trips to hospital every week, the economic and emotional burden on the family is insurmountable.
Road to Recovery’s unique model is leveraged to foster hope and trust between Israelis and Palestinians. Since 2010, amidst deadly realities, and continued warring bouts between Gaza and Israel, our 1,800 volunteers are unyielding in their mission, assisting Palestinian patients (especially children) and their families.
AN ATTACK ON ROAD TO RECOVERY’S COMMUNITY
On Saturday October 7th, Israel suffered an horrific and heinous attack by Hamas on its civilian population. Many innocent men and women, children and the elderly were murdered and kidnapped into Gaza. Among them, Road to Recovery volunteers and activists and their family members.
It is with grieving hearts that we announce the (non-final) list of deaths in the October 7th attack, from among the beloved family of Road to Recovery:
• Adi Dagan from Kibbutz Be’eri
• Eli Or-Gad from Kibbutz Kfar Aza
• Yiftah, son of Moshe Gorni, from Kibbutz Na’an
• Eyal, son of Hagit Klein from Kfar Harif
• Harif Shoshi Brosh, wife of Yehonatan Brosh from Kibbutz Nahal Oz
• Tal, son of Liora Ayalon from Kibbutz Kfar Aza
• Shraga Chasid, husband of Shlomit Chasid from Mazkeret Batya (Killed in Ashkelon) Kibbutz Be’eri
• Tami Sochman from Kibbutz Be’eri
As we grieve for our friends and their families, we remain hopeful and stand strong in our demand for the immediate return of Road to Recovery volunteers and their family members who were kidnapped into Gaza:
• Chaim Peri from Kibbutz Nir Oz
• Vivian Silver (also works with Women Wage Peace) from Kibbutz Be’eri,
• Oded Lifshitz from Kibbutz Nir Oz
• Oz Yochi Lifshitz from Kibbutz Nir Oz
• Hagar and her three children, from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, daughter and grandchildren of Moshe Lotem from Kibbutz Gvulot
• Oz Hagar and her three children, from Kibbutz Kfar Aza
• Daughter and grandchildren of Moshe Lotem from Kibbutz Gvulot
• Chaim Peri is believed to be held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
• Nurit and Amiram Cooper, parents of Lotan Cooper from Kibbutz Nir Am, who are still missing.
Amid a deeply rooted political and cultural conflict, Road to Recovery volunteers bridge the divide with messages of hope, empathy and compassion. By rendering simple humanitarian services, Road to Recovery is as much about empathy and mutual respect towards Israelis and Palestinians as it is about human lives.
Abrahamic Reunion’s prayer vigil
The Abrahamic Reunion recognizes that creating understanding and empathy between diverse faith communities is fundamental to developing multicultural acceptance, constructive cooperation and peaceful coexistence.
PEACE PRAYER VIGIL
11:00 EDT (16:00 BST London time)
Multi-faith ~ All Welcome
Prayers for the peace & safety for all people in the Holy Land
AMIDST WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL & HAMAS
Prayers are needed and the community of peace that is being built on these vigils is growing, providing important compassionate middle ground amidst so much horrible and heightened conflict. All welcome. Leaders from different faiths at each program. Please join in compassionate peacebuilding community together to support the Holy Land, the peacemakers, each other, ourselves, and the world.
Peace ~ Salam ~ Shalom
You can join the prayer vigils at 16:00 UK time every day via Zoom. The Abrahamic Reunion is featured in our Directory, has its own website and joined TalkMatters for a webinar in November 2021. Information on supporting their work with donations is here
Thank you for your support.
Here’s to an end to these dark, disturbing days,
Jenny and the TalkMatters Team.