My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families of the victims of the wave of terror which is sweeping Jerusalem, the city of peace, holy to three major religions, as well as in other parts of the country. Life is sacred for all religions in the region and those who cause the death of innocents betray their own people’s values, traditions, and beliefs. At times like this it becomes a struggle to maintain faith in cooperation and dialogue. The Arava Institute maintains its commitment to peaceful engagement between Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that is the only way to end the cycle of violence and to establish freedom and security for Palestinians and Israelis.
Here are a few examples of our commitment to cooperation and dialogue even during these times of crisis:
- Last week 30 Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian Arava Institute alumni worked together as crew on the weeklong Israel Ride which safely brought 163 riders from Jerusalem to Eilat and raised money for the Arava Institute and its partner organization, Hazon.
- This week, 20 Palestinian, Israeli, and Jordanian alumni studying together at Sde Boker hosted the 30 current Arava Institute students and interns at the International Desertification Conference.
- Next week the 30 current Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and international students and interns will participate in the Peace Building and Environmental Seminar field trip. The trip will include meetings with Palestinians and Israelis representing different sides of the conflict and different political points of view. Students will have the opportunity to better understand each other’s historical tragedies and current dilemmas.
The Arava Institute is one of many organizations in the Middle East committed to peaceful dialogue and cooperation. As a member of both ALLMEP and the NGO Peace Forum, we are working together with our colleagues in the region to change the headlines, if not today, then tomorrow and the next day. I urge all of you who believe in peace to not lose faith but to maintain support and commitment to ending violence in the region and to confirming the human rights to dignity, freedom and security for all.
Arava Institute of Environmental Studies