The recent carnage in Gaza, the misguided U.S. embassy move and Abbas’ very troubling Holocaust statements are just a few of the bad news stories lately. The good news is that Shalom Achshav/Peace Now continues its unflagging fight for the two-state solution – the only sane, just, feasible path towards peace for both sides. Shalom Achshav is up against a hard-right government and settler movement that promote creeping (and sometimes leaping) annexation of the West Bank. The Israeli public must be persuaded this is utmost folly.
One of the ways Shalom Achshav works against the right-wing tide is through education programs that create effective youth ambassadors for peace. For example, last year the movement’s Hazon Peace Academy gave a cadre of young Israeli activists new skills with which to influence public attitudes to the conflict. Hazon graduates are making a difference. They are working for civil society NGOs. They are speaking to their peers with passion as well as fact-based pragmatism. Embodying the best of Israel’s founding values, they offer a glimmer of hope at a time when too many Israeli youth have become enthralled by the Greater Israel ideology.
Peace Now plans to build on Hazon with a Youth Leaders Retention Seminar that will bring together graduates and other promising activists for an intensive learning and team building experience. They will receive advanced lessons on the political situation, hone their advocacy skills, support one another and strengthen Peace Now’s core activist base.
The sole funding source for this important initiative is Canadian Friends of Peace Now. Shalom Achshav is counting on us to make the program happen. And we are counting on you, our loyal supporters, so that we can continue with this crucial work.
Why are such programs so important? Because support for the two-state solution has sharply declined among Israeli youth. Two-thirds of them identify with the right. The education system favours a one-sided right-wing narrative. Peace Now needs to counter such trends with empowered pro-peace youth activists who can reach out to their peers. And it needs to rejuvenate its own base.
Of course, along with youth training, Peace Now does so much more. Its Settlement Watch Program monitors and protests West Bank settlement growth. Peace Now’s court cases hamper illegal land grabs. Its public outreach raises awareness that the two-state solution is the only way forward. Its demonstrations hold the government to account for actions that are unjust and also against Israel’s own long-term interests.
Please help us support the pre-eminent Zionist peace movement in Israel advocating for a two-state solution.
Your tax-deductible donation helps fund our partner projects in Israel. Your donation also helps us bring dynamic speakers and films to Canada, broadening the discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within Canadian Jewish communities.
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3) By phone with your credit card information (call 1-866-405-5387).
We gratefully acknowledge your support in the past and ask you to please give generously again to enable us to continue this important work. All donations above $10 are eligible for a tax receipt.
Gabriella Goliger, Sheldon Gordon, Reuven Shulz
More about the Youth Leaders Summer Retention Seminar
- Increase support for peace and democracy among Israeli youth
- Activists hone advocacy skills
- Activists make connections and develop a team atmosphere
- Peace Now’s reliable activist base grows and takes on more responsibility
- Peace Now youth activists (17-35) from across the country, particularly graduates of the Hazon leadership program, as well as those who have shown an interest in or have already demonstrated their commitment to being actively involved in the movement.
- Recruitment of around 50 select participants from the pool of Hazon graduates, committed youth activists, and less active activists who show leadership potential.
- A 2-day seminar, including a trip with education and advocacy training, hearing from speakers, team-building activities, dialogue with Palestinian-Israelis and a planning session for future activities.
- Educational subject matter to include: importance of liberal democracy; importance of conflict resolution and inclusivity for Arab citizens of Israel; the nature of Israel’s occupation and the settlement enterprise; advanced lessons on the five core issues, with a particular focus on refuting right-wing tropes; utility of grassroots activism.
- Finally, participants will be connected to existing Peace Now structures in order to help them become more engaged in the movement’s activities
- Peace Now youth activists feel a stronger commitment to the movement and the cause
- Youth activists are equipped with the education and charged with a sense of determination to advocate for strengthening Israeli democracy and for Israel to take the initiative for a negotiated end to the occupation and the conflict
- Increased participation and responsibility of youth leaders in Peace Now activities