Invest in Peace aims to spread awareness and raise money for work being done to promote and strengthen Arab-Israeli relations by small groups that may not get broad attention.The coalition of Bay Area business owners, activists, elected officials, and agency leaders recently teamed up with several ALLMEP members. Such groups include ALLMEP member Ultimate Peace, which works to spread peace by joining Israeli and Arab kids on Ultimate Frisbee teams.
Between their newsletter and Facebook page, Invest in Peace is reaching over 60,000 people, including prominent supporters such as the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president for the Union for Reform Judaism.
On December 11th, the coalition sponsored a four person panel (which included David Barkan, the CEO and co-founder of Ultimate Peace) that was livestreamed on Facebook and centered on grassroots work that has created people-to-people partnerships and open dialogue between Arabs and Israelis. The panel was the first public event of the companies and nonprofits that the organization supports.
The panel featured Sasha Pesci, an alum of ALLMEP member of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, which focuses on solving environmental challenges with cutting edge agricultural innovation.
In addition to her environmental studies, Pesci spent time peace-building with other members of the Arava Institute in order to learn how to open up dialogue and overcome issues between Arabs and Israelis studying together.
Also present on the panel was Etai Freedman of ALLMEP member Middle East Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow (MEET), which brings Israeli and Palestinian high school students together to learn how to code. The organization uses tech to open the door to mutual understanding between Arabs and Israelis.
While coding may be the focal point of the three year program for students, the foundation of MEET’s work lies in their push for peaceful coexistence through fostering an education centered on cooperation and collaboration.
While each panelist works in a different field, they all share the belief that getting Israelis and Palestinians to work together is a path towards peace. Pushing through the challenging political atmosphere is difficult, but each panelist, as well as their organizations, are passionate about their mission of working towards peace.
Invest in Peace backs this belief and, instead of backing down from the challenges fostered by the taught political sphere of today, they proudly state on their website that they support “a two-state solution with an independent, autonomous and economically viable Palestinian state living side-by-side with a democratic, Jewish state of Israel.”
Photo Credit: The Jewish News of Northern California
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