But we will never give up hope.
4th October was a stifling hot day, and yet, on our arrival we were greeted with the gift of large, white umbrellas to give us shade. Of course this would be our women’s solution: cooling things down, providing comfort in heated times.
The Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun afternoon event was held in a new garden – the garden of tolerance. There was nowhere more appropriate in all the world than this holy sight of tolerance in Jerusalem. There, overlooking hundreds of women in white and turquoise, our symbol of peace, the olive tree, rose high above us as part of an incredible sculpture.
It cannot be known when the break will heal, when two sides will grow back together, but it can be seen that between the branches of the olive tree a new seed is sprouting a golden grain of tolerance.
In this beautiful, peaceful garden on a hill, we gathered to hear speeches from powerful women, and women from all over the world. Representatives from at least twenty-seven other countries, among them Iran, America, France, and Ireland, were there displaying and declaring their solidarity with Women Wage Peace and Women of the Sun.
The atmosphere was full of hope and the delicious taste of change, the possibility of peace, with the giant sign by the speakers which read: Make change our reality.
At around six that evening, at the Dead Sea, this time thousands of women, Palestinians and Jews, gathered together on the beach to show unity and our dedication to peace, and only peace.
This time we were greeted with a meal so we could sit together with our sisters – and even, happily, some brothers – and eat together. This beautiful song here by Yael Dekelbaum began the evening ceremony, followed with moving and poignant speeches about how peace is entirely possible when women speak, when women make their voices heard, when women lead the way.
“Enough bloodshed!” Yael Admi cried, “Enough!”
Three days later and the country is deep into the most horrific war that perhaps it has ever seen. Not only that, but one of the hostages taken by Hamas was Vivian Silver, a leader of Women Wage Peace and an inspirational peace activist who has dedicated her life to improving the plight of Palestinians. She was there with us on the 4th October, of course. Our thoughts are with her family and we pray continuously for her safe passage home.
And yet, for all that, I, and I hope many others, carry Wednesday’s echoing message of hope in my heart: if only we can get women, Palestinian and Jewish, to light the way, the light of peace will shine brightly, just as the sun did on all those elegant white umbrellas.