It’s so easy to read the news about what’s happening in the Holy Land and give up hope.
As you know, we have just endured yet another round of violence, and diplomatic efforts seem unlikely to ensure a cease-fire for more than a short while.
But there is much good news as well.
Despite the events of these past weeks, the IEA’s over 4500 participants, many of whom have met the Other for the first time at our events, are undeterred in their work of building mutual trust and respect. We have hardly ever had to cancel an event when flare-ups of hostilities take place, because our unique methodology builds strong human bonds which ensure that when difficult issues arise, they are discussed between friends who care deeply about each other, and who thanks to our work, no longer see each other as enemies.
Just a few of the many IEA meetings that have taken place in the past few weeks include:
- The Circle of Light & Hope, a group consisting primarily of Jews from the Jerusalem area and Palestinians from the Hebron area
- Our group for students from the Siach Yeshiva and Palestinian students from the Hebron area
- The Haifa Women’s Interfaith Encounter group
- The group of young adults from Jerusalem and Hebron
- The Jerusalem group of older young adults.
We have had many additional successes this year, including founding 6 new monthly dialog groups for a total of 48 (including two groups for yeshiva students and Palestinian students), and we are also starting a number of new projects, including ongoing interfaith study/dialog groups on three college campuses in Europe (in conjunction with the EU’s Tempus program). As always, for much more information about all of our groups and events, please visit the appropriate page on this webpage.
As you know, the IEA emphasizes the human side of peace, finding ways to speak to and tap the deep cultural roots of each people, and utilizing them to re-humanize each other. We believe that without this grassroots component, governmental efforts are sadly destined to fail. Our success has lent powerful proof to the idea that religion, which is so often used to divide and inflame, can also serve as a potent unifying force that helps us to tear down walls of ignorance and fear.
It takes many kinds of courage for our participants to do what they do. But they persist in doing so even at the toughest times because they know that only through meeting the Other face-to-face will the conflict finally end. Please once again join with us by making a financial commitment to IEA’s work, enabling us to continue to build a true popular movement for peace.
Your donation of:
$30 – covers printing and communications costs for one encounter session
$60 – buys food for one encounter session
$100 – pays for transportation for Palestinian youth to come to Israel for an encounter session
$250 – allows us to retain trained coordinators of one encounter session
$500 – covers all the costs for one Palestinian and Israeli Youth Encounter
$1,000 – pays for one conference
$5,000 – can sustain one ongoing dialogue group for one year.
You can now easily contribute online by clicking the PayPal button on the top-right corner.
All contributions are fully tax-deductible in the US 501(c)(3). See our donate page for how to make tax-deductible contributions if you are a UK or Swiss citizen.
In the US, contributions by check may be mailed directly to: Friends of IEA, 832 Lathrop Ave., Forest Park, IL, 60130-2039
All contributions of any size are very warmly appreciated!
Dr. Yehuda Stolov
Interfaith Encounter Association