Health Specialists group
On June 3rd-4th, 23 Israelis and Palestinians, all mental health specialists (psychologists and social workers), came to Beit Jala for two days to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative Project of the Parents Circle – Families forum. The group participated in trust building activities, activities to learn about their personal and national narratives, and heard a lecture from two historians – an Israeli and a Palestinian – that introduced the historical milestones in each national narrative and how it is perceived in their community. At the summary session the participants said how important this meeting was for them and how deep the process they went through was, especially because they were able to be open and honest with each other even when talking about hard things.
One Voice group
On June 3rd , 21 Israelis and Palestinians, members of the One Voice movement, met in Tel Aviv for their fifth and last group meeting that took place as part of their participation in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative project of the Parents Circle – Families forum. In their meetings they participated in activities to learn about their personal and national narrative. Their last meeting was devoted to sharing sessions about their experience and feelings. The discussion was not always easy but it brought them closer to each other. As one of the participants said: "In this project, we got to know each other's narratives and not only talk about politics, and now we have a feeling of a true partnership with the Palestinian members of our organization".
And here is what another participant said about PCFF: "I think the PCFF is an amazing organization that has a real power to turn the personal loss into a national "gain" for both peoples".
Israeli and Palestinian women from the Combatants for Peace group
On June 3rd , two Palestinian women and two Israeli women met together in Israel for a day in which they had a chance to get to know each other better on a personal level. These four women are part of a group of 16 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, all members of the Combatants for Peace movement, who took part in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative Project of PCFF. The four women started the day at an Arabesque workshop where they danced together. Then they went for a guided tour to Lifta – a Palestinian village that was ruined in the 1948 war. They finished the day sitting together in a café, where they had a nice conversation that brought them closer together. Next month they will meet again for a day in Palestine.
Health Specialists group
On June 15th the Health Specialists group met again in Beit Jala to hear testimonies about the Holocaust and the Nakba. After hearing each of the testimonies the participants had a profound discussion about the traumatic events in the histories of the two people and their implications and talked about the ability to feel empathy to the suffer of the other side.
On June 16th-17th, a group of 24 Israelis and Palestinians came to Beit Jala for two days to participate in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative Project of the Parents Circle – Families forum. This group is one of 12 groups that participate in this project in order to better understand each other's personal and national narrative. This group, which is a very diverse group, whose participants represent the spectrum of views in their societies, is a unique group. It is being filmed for a documentary following the process the participants are going through in the project. This film is produced by PCFF and will be broadcasted on the Israeli and Palestinian TV in order to spread the message of reconciliation to the Israeli and Palestinian public.
Wounded Crossing Borders
On June 17th, 20 Israelis and Palestinians, members of the Wounded Crossing Borders organization, went for a visit at the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem, as part of their participation in the Israeli-Palestinian Narrative project of the Parents Circle – Families forum. This was also their last, out of four, group meetings in the project, in which they went through a process to learn and better understand each other's personal and national narrative. In the summary session of the meeting, the participants thanked PCFF for a professional and well built workshop, and for the facilitators' patience and ability to listen and guide the group. They said the process they went through thought them how to listen to each other, even when the narratives they heard were hard to listen to, and this brought the group closer together.
Many more activities are planned for the second half of June.
Photographers: Uri Leshem, Oded Leshem