Women for Peace
This video shows highlights of a peace trip by 500 women from 41 countries. They visited homes, hospitals, and schools in Jerusalem, Israel, and Bethlehem to bring solace and healing. They took the motherly role of embracing both sides of the conflict with sensitivity and care.
A Mother's Heart for Peace was the theme of the Middle East Peace Initiative in May 2004. A mother’s heart can heal a child’s pain, says Miri Kamar, a Jewish woman who speaks of the Jews and Palestinians as descendants of Abraham through different mothers, Sarah and Hagar. In the Biblical account, the archetypal mothers took their children in separate directions. For peace to come, a motherly spirit helps bring separated children together.
Miri joined the effort. “We met people with open wounds,” she said. “We met deep pain that bled in the hearts of the two nations. We met the nightmares that haunt the families that were hit, and we met people who confessed that they had killed, and shared with us their daily hell. The intensity of the pain hasn’t finished even after twenty years. Each victim of a terror attack has families and friends who carry with them the trauma.”
The women met anger and desire for revenge. They also met forgiveness. Jews and Arabs from the entire rainbow of political opinions kept telling them: “There isn’t anyone who doesn’t want peace.”
To go door to door in cities and villages and comfort those who have lost loved ones was simple and yet profound. They met families who had lost loved ones and were moved by the language of the heart. The women did not take sides but simply extended a loving heart.
It is the role of the mother's heart to soften the environment, to open the hearts, and to move people so that they can go beyond their hardened views. At times it is more convenient to hold on to the familiar sufferings than to fully assume responsibility for one’s self and community.
See also presentations by Rachel Glaubach, Miri Kamar, Shelagh Shalev, and Alexa Ward.
For photos of Middle East Peace Initiative programs during 2004, click here.