The Olive Branch

The Olive Branch

As I have said before, the way to tackle the Middle East conflict is to encourage co-operation from the bottom up and build trust.

The olive groves where peaceful solidarity grows.

“Organisations such as Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) and Humans without Borders (HWB) tirelessly organise groups of Israelis and internationals to aid the farmers, and in doing so break down suspicion and distrust on both sides of the border. I accompanied a group of HWB volunteers on Friday to see firsthand the way in which Jews and Arabs come together under a banner of peaceful coexistence, and was more heartened by the experience than any other I’ve had in Israel/Palestine in a long time.”

“Into the breach stepped the HWB group, made up of 20 young Israelis; some native-born, others immigrants from the UK, America and Australia. Meeting at an ungodly hour at Arlozorov train station in Tel Aviv, they had given up their weekend to perform the ultimate mitzvah (commandment): love thy neighbour – though religion was far from the prime motive for the majority of the volunteers. Instead, their own brand of Zionism – one which promotes, rather than tramples on, the human rights of all inhabitants of the region – was the catalyst for their quest.”

Alan Howe

Update: HT Mod, another Humans Without Borders initiative ongoing despite the boycott campaign.

“A government leader just signs a peace agreement, and a year later he’s not in that position,” she says. “But if you make a relationship with a family, those people will never forget you. You can see that in the interactions between the kids and the volunteers.” Indeed, at a Day of Fun last Sunday for five of the children who receive weekly dialysis, Yehiya smiled brightly and ran into the arms of volunteer Yehudit Warschawski, who drives him and his father to Shaare Zedek twice a week. “Shalom, hamud!” Warschawski cooed, sweeping him into her arms.

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