Shavua Tov! (A Good Week!)
Gratitude for another amazing year
Championing Israeli & Palestinian
Peace organizations working together.
These committed Peace activists
Work to make their lives
Fear-free, Safe, Tolerable,
Dare we hope, Joyful?
Even during war,
There are pockets of Peace.
It’s harder, but
Logic dictates Peace is the only way.
May You Live in Peace, שלום and سلام.…
As I look back over the year, in January, PEACE with Penny will be three years old. I started PEACE with Penny originally as a present to myself for my birthday. It’s been nine years since our fateful 2014 trip that changed my life, starting with writing my book, “BLASTED from COMPLACENCY: A Journey from Terror to Transformation in Israel,” becoming a Jewish National Speaker, and the host of PEACE with Penny. We’ve interviewed more than 75 Peace organizations, most comprised of Israelis AND Palestinians who’ve gone beyond their own narratives and work together to build a better future. Recently, I was honored to be inducted into Marquis Who’s Who biographies, as well as recognized as a “Woman of Influence” among the Marquis Who’s Who of Professional Women.
Which world would you choose to live in given the choice between one example of a Peace organization we’ve interviewed called Path of Hope and Peace’s objectives, and the current war? They are an oasis of Peace, bask with us in their light as they promote tolerance and find shelter in their pockets of Peace during these challenging times. If past skirmishes are any indication, this too shall pass. I’m privileged to have access and interview these incredible organizations. PEACE with Penny provides a platform for these Israeli and Palestinian Peace organizations to let the world know there is hope for Peace in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians and it’s been demonstrated for years, but you have to know where to look.
But I would be remiss, not to add the current wretched, Israel-Hamas War report. Sad news, three hostages killed by “friendly fire.” Strange terminology, try to explain it to their families. But they were holding a white flag…before you judge, have you been a soldier in hand-to-hand combat? I haven’t, and we’re dealing with two nations with all their people with PTSD. Hamas does not wear uniforms, tries to trick the Israeli soldiers by speaking Hebrew, etc. Mistakes during war can be lethal.
May their memories be a blessing. A prayer for Refuah Shlema (a complete healing), for their families, but is that even possible? And for the other hostage families as well, at least may your pain lessen and your loved ones be returned.
136 hostages remain held by Hamas. When even the US government was publicly speculating that the remaining women weren’t returned because Hamas didn’t want the world to know the abuse that they had endured, gang rape is merely one heinous, documented activity of the terrorists, one can’t help but believe, the US knows more than they are saying. Oy. Over 130 Israeli soldiers have been killed as Israel tries to go after Hamas more strategically and dangerously amidst the 300+-mile labyrinth of tunnels.
As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t believe in war and killing, it’s immoral and futile, but it’s not my call. Like all countries at war, Israel uses bombs to go after Hamas. Given the fact that Hamas hides amidst civilians, tragically utilizing human shields, and intentionally builds tunnels below hospitals and schools, increasing the odds that children can be killed, as Israel is trying to destroy these same tunnels—Hamas values the death of their citizens more than their lives, so the videos and pictures can be used to support their cause after the missiles explode. The Gazan population is approximately 50% children, the consequences are unbearable to watch nightly on our television sets. Even Israel says over 15K have been killed, we really don’t know how many civilians, but the innocent children…it’s horrific. Ultimately, Hamas is responsible for these deaths, but Israel knows they will be blamed, as cherry-picked, gory, emotionally, gut-wrenching scenes flash across our phones, TVs and computers. Israel was trying to protect their own soldiers by using these bombs before they had to fight the more dangerous battle up close and personal. It may be militarily logical, but war is not rational, and it’s emotionally reprehensible. Too many believe Israel and Jews are monsters, and now Israel’s given them the proof to advertise their one-sided narrative.
But then, there are these Peace organizations, we interview on PEACE with Penny, like Path of Hope and Peace. They’ve built a strong bond over the years that is standing the recent tests of the war. The towns of Tzur Hadassah, Beitar Illit, and Husan don’t want to give up the Peaceful economic interdependence that they’ve achieved. One example, a kosher certificate for a Palestinian restaurant so local religious Jews can enjoy food while they watch the soccer games on the wide screens at the restaurant? Yes, it’s great, don’t ya think?
Consistent with all the wars Israel has fought, unlike other nations, Israel humanely risks telling their enemies where they are going to bomb, sends pamphlets written in Arabic, calls them, texts them, we will bomb your location at X:00pm, leave before they act. Now not only does Hamas tell them to stay, but how do millions of people, crowded into such a small area move, after you’ve told them to locate there to be safe? How many don’t get the message due to cell phone/internet outages? War is unforgiving and ineffective, no matter how you try not to hurt civilians, with these numbers, it’s not going to be believed, the results speak louder, and cries of genocide follow.
When Israel tries to function like every other nation that is attacked, the world won’t stand for it, but they knew this to be true, it’s nothing new. Now what will Israel do after the war ends? Sit in a room by yourself and say, but we had the right to do it?
It’s predictable, and college campuses are prime territory for disinformation and combined with the energy of youth, it’s a movement waiting to happen. Many kids ignorantly, don’t even know what the expression, “From the river, to the sea, Palestine will be free,” means that they’ve been told to shout. “You know young adults, shout the rhyme, like at a football game…” but don’t doubt that the organizers are fully aware of what they are teaching and its impact. The expression means Israel/Jews should be annihilated and replaced with Palestine/Palestinians. In colleges, are our best and brightest, however, most have little life experience, and their naivety can be used as a tool. Jewish college students are attacked, yet their university administrations, as recently demonstrated by the Presidents of Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania, are not prepared to support them, whether, by knowledge or inclination, they didn’t simply answer yes when asked if calling for the genocide of Jews on campus would violate their school’s code of conduct related to bullying and harassment. As they stumbled, saying it depended on context and putting the words into action. Were they really saying someone had to kill some Jews before it would be against their policy? I couldn’t believe my ears! These administrators can’t protect the students from a situation they don’t understand themselves and the Jewish students have been trying to get help from them to no avail, which from what we’ve seen isn’t surprising. The best that can be said about this situation, is now it is out in the open for all to see. The antisemitism on campuses is a well-oiled propaganda machine, the 2023 Mein Kampf. Yes, it is that scary. And too many of our friends are silent. Israel’s friends who are speaking, say they support them wholeheartedly, yet expect them to do the impossible? Unfortunately, the Miracle Mall to purchase a miracle is closed. A war without innocent civilians being collateral damage doesn’t exist, and expecting Israel to manage to do so, is disingenuous at best.
I apologize, this is a depressing way to end the year, but what we don’t know can hurt us, so I am trying to inform you from my perspective.
In the last couple of weeks of the year, we take a break from publishing interviews thinking that folks are traveling, and spending time with family and friends. Please feel free to catch up on any of the interviews on PEACE with Penny that you’ve missed, there are plenty to choose from as these organizations work on Peace from many different themes such as conservation, medicine, art, music, language, and let’s not forget the impact of dialogue, it’s impact goes far beyond enjoying hummus and wine. When the war first broke out, we wanted to get the interviews to our audience as fast as possible. Starting in January, we’ll be back with weekly posts on Tuesdays at 9am pacific time. We can’t say positively it will stay this way, wars have a way of changing your plans. Stay tuned.
We’ve been working on lots of interesting interviews with Israeli-Palestinian Peace organizations. Are they able to function? Admittedly, at first the world was shocked by the attack, the lack of rescue by the IDF, and the barbarous cruelty—so were these Peace organizations. What could they do during a war? Join PEACE with Penny to hear. We thought they were courageous before the war…now? Why not listen and make up your own mind?
Make 2024, your best year ever! May You Live in Peace, שלום and سلام.…
#Israel War; #Israel-Hamas War; #Israeli-Palestinian Conflict; #antisemitism; #Gaza; #BREAKING NEWS; #Palestinian; #Peace; #Israel;#Hamas
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