Meet Alon and Raja

Meet Alon Simon and Raja Samana, Israeli and Palestinian members of the Parents Circle, both participants in The Narrative Project.

My name is Alon Simon. I’m 34 years old, originally from Kibbutz Nitzanim, and now live in Tel Aviv.

Last year I participated in the Narrative Project – a series of meetings in Beit Jala organised by The Parents Circle.

Many of the Palestinians [in the group] had stories about violence they had experienced at the hands of the army and security services. They spoke of how they had been detained, interrogated, beaten and humiliated. We Israelis heard the stories and didn’t know how to react. I did not know what to say.

Now that I am aware of the Nakba, should I believe that Petah Tikva, the first Jewish settlement in Israel, is no different than the outposts in the West Bank, as one Palestinian participant claimed? I still cannot accept these conclusions, and I’m still looking for arguments strong enough to reject them.

Read more about Alon.

My name is Raja Samana. I am the mother of two sons and a daughter. I live in the village of Beit Iba, near Nablus, and participated in the Parents Circle’sIsraeli-Palestinian Women of Influence Narrative Project.

My husband was killed in a car accident when an Israeli truck crushed his car. He was killed instantly. As a result of his death, I became filled with hatred against the whole world. During all of these years of the Occupation and prolonged attacks against the Palestinian people, especially after my husband was killed, I wondered if the Israeli people were ruthless people without law or order. This is the reason that when my friend reached out to me and told me about the peace activities and that peace is possible between the two sides, it took my a long time to be convinced and agree to participate.

Slowly, over time, and  thanks to the dialogue and conversations we had around our narratives, our suffering, I started to change my mind about Israelis. I understand that on their side there are also many who lost loved ones to the conflict and I understood that a large portion of Israeli society does not support the Occupation. I started to believe and be convinced that peace is possible between Israelis and Palestinians and live in peace just like us.

Read more about Raja: Hebrew and Arabic

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Taking Steps on the Path of Peace

Screen Shot shoes overlay

Our social business, Taking Steps, created by our Women’s Group is a powerful way you can support our work and share our message of reconciliation.

The ‘Bird of Peace’ has become our iconic symbol of reconciliation. Our Women’s Group first embroidered the symbol onto sports shoes. Women, both locally and internationally, including celebrities like Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, and Cate Blanchett have already bought the shoes and donated to the project. The second product comes in the form of a patch and shoelaces in which people can adapt their existing sports shoes into the Taking Steps product.

Learn more about the Taking Steps project, our Women’s Group, and upcoming events below!

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Storymakers 2016

Help the Parents Circle-Families Forum spread its message of peace, reconciliation, and hope for bereaved Israelis and Palestinians! Vote for “Taking Steps” for TechSoup’s Storymakers 2016 challenge, share it on social media, and help us win $5000!

Watch the video and vote here.

“If I who lost a loved one to the conflict can walk the path of peace, then surely you can too.”