Dear family and friends,
I am compelled to share with you my great emotion after participating in a historic event in the Knesset in Jerusalem this past Wednesday (July 31, 2013). The event was organized by “One Voice” a wonderful organization where Jews and Arabs raise their voice together for peace (they supported Mira Awad and myself on our “Eurovision” adventure) and by the Caucus for Ending the Arab-Israeli conflict. This caucus supports a two state solution and the Arab Initiative, which was recently once again approved by the Arab league and presented to Israel. There were many people present, including many Israeli Ministers and members of Parliament (MKs), both jews and arabs, and people working in many beautiful peace and co-existence organizations in Israel and Palestine, like AJEEC-NISPED and the Palestinian Dialogue Center. There were also honorable guests from Ramallah. All in all, there were ministers and MKs there representing 77 members of the Israeli Knesset, a clear majority in support of the negotiations and the two state solution!
Everybody, Arabs and Jews alike spoke beautifully, it was truly inspiring. I too had a chance to speak, and urged my fellow artists on both sides of the fence to step out and raise their voices, fearlessly, for peace (personally I think e should ALL be out on the streets!)
But what was MOST striking was the fact that for the first time in the HISTORY of the Knesset, the Palestinian flag was waving alongside the Israeli one!! what a sight to see!! (see photo)
After I spoke, I hurried out of the room on my way to the children, and as i pulled my car out of the parking lot, I got a call from Tal Harris, who heads one voice, urging me to return as there were people who were eager to meet me. I did so , passed the endless security for the second time that day, and went back to the place where the meeting had taken place there, I found Hilik Bar, the founder of the Cauacus (and MK for the Labour party), and the whole cadre of Arab MKs and guests, waiting to take a picture together with me! :-) I was deeply honored. After the photo, they extended a personal invitation to come to Ramallah and meet Abu Mazen! This may even happen later this week!
I have attached a photo, here are the list of people there!
From left to right standing: former PA minister Ashraf Ajrami; Palestinian Legislative Council member and head of the parliamentary committee of political affairs Abdallah Abdallah; MK Hana Sweid (hadash party); Dr. Walid Salem – director of the Palestinian Center for Democracy & Community Development; MK Hilik Bar – Chair of the caucus for Ending the Israeli Arab Conflict, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, and General Secretary of the Labor Party (he and i are also seen photographed with the portrait of Rabin, see below), Mohammad Madani – member of Fatah Central Committee and head of Palestinian Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Society; MK Mohammad Barakeh (chair of Hadash party); Elias Zananiri – political advisor to the Palestinian committee for interaction with the Israeli society;
From left to right sitting: MK Afu Agbariyeh (hadash); MK Isawi Frej (Meretz party); myself and Tal Harris of One Voice.
I would like to state that some of the people in this photo sat for over ten years in Israeli prisons!! And still they are here, supporting peace!!
So..all is not lost…things change, people and perspectives change, in change there is strength and beauty and where there is life there is hope I for one plan to do everything in my power to cultivate that hope and turn it into OUR reality.
Noa (achinoam nini)