Planting seeds of Peace in the Negev / Pnina Dobo

We, Women Wage Peace, are putting down roots in the Negev and are intensifying our activities to promote peace. During the week of Tu B’shvat (a Jewish holiday when Israeli school kids plant trees) many children with their parents from all over the Negev, Jews and Arabs, met together in Wadi Atir Project near Hura village in order to plant seeds of hope.

It was an initiative of two women, both members of Women Wage Peace: Ghadir Hani, born in Akko and one of the founders of the Project and Pnina Dobo, a member of Kibbutz Lahav and regional coordinator of Women Wage Peace in the South. The activity began with this explanation: The project is a new initiative of the Bedouin community in cooperation with an American organization and the Hura Local Council to establish an agricultural farm based on sustainability. The project combines traditional Bedouin knowledge and values with modern technology. Mais, the daughter of Amal Abu-Saad from Um Elhiran,  touched everyone when she read a poem expressing her pain and the her family’s suffering following the death of her uncle and the head of the family, Yakub Elkian, and the destruction of their home.

Afterwards we went on a guided tour and then planted 40 seedlings of fig and mastic trees, with a Jewish and an Arab family near each seedling.

Shifa El Sana, Director of Social Services in Lakiya and social activist, spoke passionately saying we must not give up hope. We believe in what we are doing; we are strong women and we will continue to be involved in this most important endeavor, for us, for our children and for the next generation! This meeting is proof that it is possible to achieve a better future. Yael Admi, a member of the steering committee of Women Wage Peace, read Amal Abu Saad’s speech from the rally in Tel Aviv, promising her children an education that respects and accepts the other, so that all citizens of the country can live together.  Yael added that we are all saying the same thing – so clear, basic and humane: we all deserve a life together based on acceptance and respect for one another.

During this meeting many ties were established among the participants; the planted seedlings will grow to prove these ties.

Translated from Hebrew by Sue Levinstein