These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Even when we are afraid

Posted on August 7, 2013 by Emly Oren

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Throughout my life, I have been exposed to many different viewpoints and opinions about the Arab-Israeli conflict. As a Jewish leader and Israeli activist, I believe it is my responsibility to be educated and informed on this complex subject. However, after returning to live in Israel and trying to actively participate in this sensitive topic, I still felt like I did not know enough. My curiosity and passion for creating peace in the middle east motivated me to partake in a special experience.

In May 2013, I was given a unique opportunity to participate on Perspectives Israel. Perspectives is a two-day tour, which directly tackles on issues concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict. Having the chance to listen to many different perspectives would help me go beyond slogans and media and into the hearts of those who have experienced this conflict firsthand in some way. Everyone I met had a different solution to this topic and each felt passionate on pursuing their way to end these conflicts. From touring the fence with Danny Tirza to speaking with representatives from Israel Peace Radio and meeting with residents from Sderot, these encounters helped me understand the importance of actively listening to everyone’s narrative. One woman I met risks her life every day by picking up Palestinian women from the Gaza border and driving them to a local hospital. This is only one example of the many stories I heard in trying to understand people’s approach. Although one perspective may have differed from another, what I learned most on this tour is that each person believes in making a difference to move forward towards peace. We know it will take time for nations to create peace but we need to have the space to learn from each other.

Participating in this amazing experience has given me the confidence in helping to change the conversation on Israel in a more inclusive and constructive direction. Most importantly, I walked away from this experience realizing that even when we are afraid, we shall work towards justice.