Israeli & Palestinian Women Against Violence
Since 2009 I’ve traveled to the Holy Land two or three times each year to learn from Israelis and Palestinians committed to peace. I’ve met incredible men and women–Jews, Muslims and Christians–religious and secular–who show up day after day to work together for the sake of a nonviolent resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Among these heroic, steadfast people is a group of Israeli and Palestinian women–all followers of Jesus–who have completely captured my heart and earned my deepest respect. Refusing to let the hostility and hopelessness of their respective communities define them, they have chosen the long, slow path of learning each other’s stories and experiences.
Out of their shared understanding, they are speaking out. Though their respective communities hold to different theological and political perspectives, they are convinced that as followers of Jesus they have only one option: to seek a nonviolent resolution that honors the dignity, freedom and security of all the people in the Holy Land.
Here is their name and logo. Please read their press release below and join me in signing your name to their bold and brave statement.
Press Release: In His Image – Women For Change
Nine Israeli and Palestinian women serving with different ministries in the Messianic Jewish, Israeli Arab Christian and Palestinian sectors of the Evangelical churches in Israel/Palestine have issued a statement opposing the use of violence. They invite you to join with them in prayer for the conflict and to endorse this statement.
Using a broad definition of violence as “any physical, emotional, verbal, institutional, structural or spiritual behavior, attitude, policy or condition that diminishes, dominates or destroys ourselves and others,” the statement challenges the status quo of the deeply divided communities and calls for a renewed commitment to seek peace, justice and security for all in Israel and Palestine.
The statement calls for a renunciation of violence in all its forms—military, political, social, psychological and spiritual—and condemns both the recent spate of attacks on citizens and the use of force to maintain the occupation.
In His Image – Women for Change is co-ordinated by Shireen Awad, a Palestinian Christian; Lisa Loden, an Israeli Messianic Jew; and Shadia Qubti, an Israeli Palestinian Christian.
The statement is the result of a three-day retreat in Amman, Jordan in March 2016 and was unanimously agreed upon. Previously, the group issued a statement on unity within the community of faith and the challenges facing their communities.
The group, originally called “Women in Ministry in Israel and Palestine,” exists to encourage one another; to inspire and enable other women to express and serve in their gifts and callings; to influence the current male-dominated leadership of their faith communities; and to challenge the status quo regarding women in leadership.
Shadia Qubti says: “Actions reflect our words, and our words reflect our heart’s desire. As women of faith, we have a place to express our hearts. United we speak for a non-violent resolution to our conflict and we extend this desire to our brothers and sisters in Israel and Palestine, and worldwide.”
Lisa Loden says: “We know this statement challenges the status quo of our deeply divided communities, where violence is so often accepted as an inevitable consequence of the intractable, long-term conflict. But we call on all who believe in the peace-making ministry of Jesus not to accept the limitations of our flawed humanity, but to challenge and change our own attitudes, and the communities and societies to which we belong.”
Shireen Awad-Hilal says: “We are both Jewish and Arab, Israeli and Palestinian, but as women who serve the churches and congregations of this divided land we want to speak out against the ongoing acceptance of this division, and unite with one another despite our divisions, calling on Israeli and Palestinian alike to renounce violence as a means of achieving their own agendas.”
Please read their statement and add your voice to theirs. These women have received and will continue to receive criticism from many groups who believe they are denouncing their own communities by partnering with the “other.”
Let’s applaud their words and actions by adding our names in support. For the full statement and list of endorsers see: www.inhisimagewomenforchange.com.