Palestinian-Israeli Get-Together

No weapons, no security checks, no suspicious looks, no bullying.
Last Saturday, Feb. 6, Dead Sea – Palestinians and Israelis, young and old, men and women, were given the rare occasion to come together for a day of dialog and fun. For the Palestinians (mostly from the West Bank) it was also an opportunity to enjoy a little more freedom of movement than what they are normally used to. One woman told us that it was the first time in twelve years that she got to see the sea.

Ihab Balha, the head of the event (which was free of charge for all the participants), welcomed us in Hebrew and in Arabic. After a short walk together down by the Dead Sea, a simple, yet rich buffet awaited us outside the auditorium of the Ein Gedi Kibbutz: lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious desert dates, pita bread, yummy labaneh cream cheese with zaatar and olive oil, hot coffee and tea, and plenty of fresh drinking water. After having filled our tummies we went inside for various activities: conversation circles, each with a Hebrew-Arabic translator, music, and games. I think people felt good.

About the organizers of this event: Ora and Ihab Balha, both tall and of gracefully spiritual presence, are a Jewish-Muslim couple, which is quite a big deal in itself because interfaith marriages are still not widely accepted in Israel, neither by Jews nor by Muslims. Ora and Ihab are both peace activists; they run a bi-lingual Waldorf kindergarten in Jaffa, where they live with their three sons.

In 2011 they founded the (non-profit) organization The Orchard of Abraham’s Children, which is active in a variety of fields – educational encounters, conferences, festivals, art, music, ecology, sport, leadership development, and peace tourism – all for the benefit of braking the barriers of fear and ignorance and  for promoting a peaceful dialog and co-existence.

Ora and Ihab are also the coordinators of the UPLIFT center in Israel.
UPLIFT – “Combining the gift of intimate live events with the power of the internet to reach the world, UPLIFT is a bridge of love and consciousness into real world action…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. What a great idea …… PEOPLE getting together. One could actually think that if PEOPLE talked with each other and ate with each other that they may like each other. Is this some kind of new concept?

    Thanks Heila …… like a possibility!
    Now if they could get their governments out of their way maybe peace would have a chance!

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Tubularsock!

      PEOPLE have to do what PEOPLE can do. There are many wonderful people in this region but the government doings here in Israel are not very encouraging and the only way to retain hope, is by being active in the other – peaceful and human-rights-respecting – direction.
      Thank you for liking the post!

      Like

  2. Hi Heila 😀

    Wonderful ! This is just what the Middle East needs in entirety.

    Is that Y in the Retro top. If so, he’s lost a lot of weight. Good for him !

    Have a lovely Valentine’s Day dear friend 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks dear Ralph. Yes, and I am sick and tired of hearing our government’s lame excuse that there is no partner for peace talks…
      Yep, that’s Yuval alright. Looking good, right? Yes, He had lost much weight during his crisis (nearly) a year ago but gained back most of it, he says (I don’t think so and he never weighs himself…).
      On Valentine’s day we went to see a simple yet charming Brasilian movie, Second Mom, or something like that.
      I’m falling asleep… Good night and a strong hug my friend

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yuval looks so well, doesn’t he ? Nice to see.

        Glad you had a nice Valentine’s Day my friend. That movie seemed a nice touch.

        It’s getting late for me. You are probably out for the count as I write this. So, I’ll say good morning as you’ll probably read this then.

        Thanks Heila. Big hug back 😀 ❤

        Like

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