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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace


The following is an article from the Jewish Review (Oregon) from Oct. 17, 2002

Israeli, Palestinian parents share pain at Oct. 17 events

by Gerson Robboy

"We have every reason to despise each other, to be mortal enemies," write Ghazi Brigit and Yitzhak Frankenthal, "One of us is an Israeli whose son was kidnapped and killed ... by Hamas. The other is a Palestinian whose brother was killed by Israeli troops at a checkpoint in his village. But our grief unites us behind the same goal."

In 1994, a 19-year old Israeli soldier named Arik Frankenthal was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. Following this tragedy, Yitzhak Frankenthal, an Israeli Orthodox Jew, founded the Parents' Circle - an organization of bereaved parents who have lost their children to terrorism. The Parents Circle promotes peace and coexistence by means of education to encourage tolerance and compromise. In 1995, The Parents' Circle established a partnership with Palestinian bereaved families and established the Israeli - Palestinian Bereaved Families for Peace. Today, 200 Israeli and 190 Palestinian families have united in a commitment to resolve this deadly conflict and end the senseless sacrifice of children.

Mr Frankenthal writes, "We are not diplomats, politicians or 'experts' on the Middle East with Ph.D.s. We are experts on the price paid by the relatives of more than 1,400 Palestinians and Israelis killed in this conflict since the intifada began in September 2000. But we understand that our leaders are offering no solutions, no paths out of the darkness and back to the negotiating table.

"That is why our parents' group calls for outside powers to step in more forcefully. If anyone has any better ideas - indeed, if anyone else has any good ideas - we have not heard them...

"Everyone with any sense knows what the eventual answer is going to be. Someday, there will be two states for two peoples, living side by side, with secure and recognized boundaries. The only question is how many years, how many funerals, how many excuses, before we get there."

On October 17, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom will bring Israeli and Palestinian delegates representing these families to Portland to tell their personal stories of bereavement and discuss the ways in which they have joined together to encourage an end to this bloody conflict.

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom is a new national organization of American Jews with deep and abiding connections to Israel who are working to secure a just and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people through Israel's return to 1967 borders and the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Brit Tzedek, founded in April 2002, is currently conducting an intensive membership drive and now has over 700 members in 30 states, including a local chapter here in Portland.

Israeli-American Marcia Freedman is the group's national President. She is a former member of Israel's Knesses. Freedman says the group wants to mobilize "the vast majority of American Jews" who support Israel but are "uncomfortable with the current government and its policies."

In Brit Tzedek's view, bringing speakers from Israeli groups such as the Bereaved Parents Circle allows American Jews to know they can support Israel and Israelis and oppose the occupation.

The speakers will appear at PSU Campus Ministries (corner of SW Broadway & Montgomery) at noon on October 17, and also in the evening at a location to be announced. For more information, call 503-249-1957.

The Campus Ministries event is cosponsored by the Harold Schnitzer Program in Judaic Studies, Middle East Studies Center, and Conflict Resolution Program, PSU.

The evening event is cosponsored by P'nai Or, Hand and Hand: Center for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel, Gesher, Havurah Shalom, and Neveh Shalom.

For more information on Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, send an email to info@btvshalom.org, visit their web site at www.btvshalom.org, or write to PO Box 12471, Portland, OR 97212.

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