On Sunday I facilitated a simulation with a friend for my Quaker meeting about the situation in Palestine and Israel. In a group of 16 young people and adults we explored what it would be like to be Palestinian or Israeli and the challenges and fear which both groups face. During the discussion after the simulation many people had questions about my trip out there, organisations I had visited and people who I’d met. Many were glad to hear of the Israeli peace organisations who I’d met and we spent some time discussing how challenging their work must be due to the huge opposition they face from their friends, family, community and even government.
This morning I have been horrified to come into work and find out that New Profile has once again experienced harassment from the Israeli government for their work. New Profile is a group of feminist women and men that dare to suggest that Israel need not be a militarized society. They are being wrongfully accused of inciting young people--like the shministim--not to enlist in the army. The charge is not true. While New Profile does not tell youngsters not to enlist, they certainly support those who do not: pacifists, those who oppose the occupation, and others. New Profile informs them of their rights and gives them legal support when necessary. But Israel is a country that does not acknowledge the basic human right to conscientious objection.
I hope we can all hold them, and their work, in our thoughts and prayers.