Peace & Freedom in Israel/Palestine

Sat 22 September 2018 - 15:00 to 17:00

Political-musical café about peace and freedom in Israel / Palestine

On September 22, the foundation Dutch Friends of Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam (NSWASNL) organizes a political-musical café with various speakers. A special speaker is the Israeli freedom fighter and peace activist Yonatan Shapira. He will report on his experiences in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and play some songs from his CD.

Neve Shalom - Wahat al-Salam (NSWAS) is a village in Israel that was established to bring about a peaceful coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, between Muslims, Jews, Christians and other beliefs and philosophies of life. It was founded in 1970 and has since grown into a village with multiple institutions and a multitude of peace activities. The Dutch Friends Foundation of Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam has been supporting the activities for many years. For the members and donors of the foundation, but also for other interested parties, a public meeting is organized on Saturday, September 22 at 3 pm in the large hall of Café Loburg at Molenstraat 6 in Wageningen.

After an introduction by the new chairman, Ed Dumrese, two young people, Karin Shbeta and Eden Zohar, from Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam, talk about the activities and developments in the village. The German-born MSc student Carleen Becker will also be present and will share her research and experiences in Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam. She studies at Maastricht University and researched bilingual education in conflict areas.

The organization is particularly pleased with the arrival of Yonatan Shapira, a former helicopter pilot from Israel and current peace and freedom activist. Shapira was born in 1972 at a military airbase in the south of Israel. His father is a known general. So he also seemed destined to make a career with the Israeli army. He grew up in Tel Aviv and joined the army in 1991. From 1993 he became a helicopter pilot and flew rescue operations.

At one point he had doubts about his work and the Israeli military policy. He took the initiative and secretly wrote a letter to the Israeli government and army top, which was eventually signed by 26 other pilots. In the so-called 'Pilots letter' they condemned the policy and asked them not to be deployed in missions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. His activism from within ultimately led to his resignation.

As 'refusenik' he became co-founder of 'Combattants for Peace', an Israeli-Palestinian egalitarian, bi-national movement that works for nonviolent resistance against the Israeli occupation and all forms of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Shapira also became active with the organization 'Boycott From Within' and the movement 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' (BDS).

At the School for Peace, part of the peace initiative Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam, he participated in a Change Agent course. مدرسة السلام - בית הספר לשלום - The School for Peace (SFP) was established in 1979 as the first educational institution in Israel to pursue peace and humane, equal and equitable relations between Palestinians and Israelis.

The SFP works with Jewish and Palestinian professional groups, women and young people, and works on an equal dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Shapira later became 'facilitator' at the workshops, training programs and other special projects that were developed by the SFP. The aim is to make the participants aware of the different perspectives of the conflict and their role in it. This allows the participants to take the responsibility to change the current relations between Israelis and Palestinians.

This summer Shapira was for the third time visiting the 'Freedom Florillas', trying to get through the Israeli sea blockade and providing Gaza with humanitarian relief goods, but mainly trying to get attention to the situation. At the first attempt in 2010, the Israeli army intervened and nine people died. Once again a few participants were arrested this year, including Shapira.

In Austria, Shapira studied at the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) and wrote his MSc.

In his period as a reservist, Shapira started making music in 2001. He later studied music and attended several seminars. In 2016 he gave about 30 concerts solo or with band. In 2017 he released his first CD, which he presented at the School for Peace at Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam. An appropriate place because his music with Hebrew, Arabic and Yiddish texts is mainly an expression of his change process and activism.

DATE: Saturday September 22, 2018
TIME: 15:00