Veteran organization, The Christian Democratic Union of Germany(CDU), presented members of the Parents Circle - Families Forum with "the gold medal for their contribution to reconciliation and understanding between peoples.” They selected two friends: Nasra Shehab and myself Roni Hirshenson.
The organization is considered to be one of the most important political forces in the CDU.
I am proud of our organization that has come a long way since its establishment by Yitzhak Frankenthal (in 1995), who I joined as one of its founders. The PCFF, which began by promoting activism amongst a few Israelis, has grown into an organization where Palestinians and Israelis work in full partnership. From promoting activism amongst a few Israelis, it has became a place where Palestinian and Israelis work in full partnership.
Receiving a medal from the ruling party Veterans Organization (the CDU) in Germany in the presence of Chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel, was a special moment for the PCFF members whose work was recognized and appreciated.
The PCFF's delegation—Nasra Shehab, Robi Damelin, Ali Abu - Awwad and I--was received with great respect. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our hosts, the Veterans Organization CDU, and The Konrad Adenauer foundation for their outstanding efforts in organizing our stay, and making us as comfortable as possible.
The ceremony was held at the French Cathedral of Berlin. Four hundred guests attended including party representatives, Bundestag members, 60 representatives of German media, the Israeli ambassador, and ambassador to the Palestinian Authority. It was a very touching site to see the two ambassadors shake hands and pat one another's shoulders.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had returned a few hours before from the G20 conference, arrived at the appointed time. The ceremony began with the welcoming remarks of Veteran Party Chairman, Prof. Wullf, and musicsegments.
Left to right: Nasra Shehab, Chancellor Angela Merkel,
Roni Hirshenson, Professor Dr. Otto Wulff.
The Chancellor's speech was the center of the event. Warm words were shared with award recipients, and the delegation stressed the importance of the PCFF’s activities, which inspire hope and helps maintain peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The Chancellor added that after participating in G20 conference, she came to the conclusion that promoting reconciliation between people is more important than promoting the global economy.
Robi and Ali delivered a few words on behalf of the PCFF. Although it was not a scheduled portion of the ceremony, Robi gave the Chancellor a glass-bead pin as a gift from the PCFF.
During our time in Germany we appeared before an audience, organized by new Friends of the PCFF in Germany: journalist Kai Adler, and Mrs. Adina Ben - Horin (wife of Rabbi Tuvia Ben - Horin).
Robi very diligently held meetings with officials in the Jewish community to promote the cartoon exhibition in Berlin.
We concluded our stay in Berlin with a visit to the President of the Bundestag who hosted us in his bureau. We ate lunch with members of the Bundestag and CDU Veterans.
Right to Left: Robi Damelin, Ali Abu Awwad,
Roni Hirshenson, Nasra Shehab.
Watch our group on Facebook for more pictures.
Photo: Marco Urban, Hanna Lehming
Translation: Roni Druks