Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter note from an Accompanier, and Israelis

This post includes a message from an EAPPI accompanier and a peek at Israeli views via the country's top reality show.

Ecumenical Accompanier Mary Morris gives us a look at Israeli resources for peace in her blog post:
Happy Easter from Bethlehem. Mary serves with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

Mary writes:

"Alleluia, Christ is risen.
Christ is risen indeed, Alleluia."

These words echoed throughout Jerusalem this Sunday, and they will echo again next Sunday as Orthodox Easter is celebrated. Spring has arrived after a very cold winter. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the gloom of winter is fading away. The air is warm and the sun almost too hot as we make our way through throngs of pilgrims from all corners of the globe to worship in this, the Holy Land. It was difficult to celebrate the resurrection in a Good Friday world.

While suffering is happening all around, there is good news in the Holy Land. I have had the pleasure in recent months of meeting with strong, humanitarian leaders of NGOs in Israel. The common thread is the desire for Israel to end the occupation peacefully. Most are Jewish Israelis. One is a Christian Israeli. They all believe that continuing the occupation is bringing moral decay to Israel and could lead to its destruction. They all love their country but deplore the violence. They are speaking out.

Hanna Barag leads a group called Machsom Watch. The members are Israeli women, most over 50 years old, who come to the checkpoints to learn and document what they are seeing and hearing from the men who pass through. They have tremendous respect for the Palestinians and their strong faith. The women make our job easier by their presence.

Avihal Stollar from Breaking the Silence is a former Israeli soldier. His group was formed by soldiers to tell the truth about the military and the occupation. These young men are despised by current enlisted Israels (although one veteran of 15 years told us that they tell the truth), but they continue to spread the word.

For Mary's complete message, go
Happy Easter from Bethlehem. For lots more from Mary, see her blog: Mary Morris in Palestine

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Israelis discuss the occupation poolside on Big Brother

If you have not yet seen it, take six minutes to view a bit of the Israeli reality show The Big Brother. The crew talks frankly in this segment,
"Talking about the Occupation," which aired in prime time. The Big Brother is Israel's highest-rated reality show.

I have spent quite a lot of time in Israel, some of it watching TV, and I would say that the views expressed here are rarely heard in public, in the entertainment sphere, especially in prime time. I wish I could read the reviews that followed the airing of this episode. Fascinating. Ann Hafften

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