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Violating Sanctions

An American Woman’s Listening Tour Through the Axis of Evil

Archive for the Israel Category

Digging Deep into the Power of Language

March 20th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I used to think of language as a unifying force until I traveled to what was then Czechoslovakia with my friend Yara, who is from the Slovak city of Bratislava. While checking into our hotel in Prague (which now is in the Czech Republic), she got into a heated discussion with the desk clerk.

Although she wasn’t in her native region, Yara refused to speak Czech, and the desk clerk refused to honor her guest by speaking Slovak. Both women grew up learning both languages, but it seems the language one chooses – or refuses – to speak can reflect a power struggle.

I, or course, couldn’t tell the difference: It was all Greek to me. classroom.jpg

The 50-Family Fishbowl

March 20th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 2 Comments »

How do 50 families live and work together so closely without driving each other crazy? Especially when every other family comes from a culture and background that society tells you to hate?

It’s one thing to argue over the town’s budget; it’s quite another to tell each other how to handle the worst tragedy a family can endure.

Ten years ago, Tom Kitain was killed in a helicopter accident en route to Lebanon while serving his mandatory duty in the Israeli Army, one month shy of his 21st birthday.
This intimate community was devastated, grieving together through its initial shock. Tom was raised in Neve Shalom~Wahat al-Salam’s “oasis of peace.” But, he died participating in the violent conflict these families were protesting.

“There is nothing worse than losing a child,” my mother says. (more…)

Signs of the (Wrong) Time

March 18th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 3 Comments »

I joined the Jewish college students on a tour through 3 Palestinian villages the Israeli Army invaded and destroyed in 1967. More than 7,000 Palestinians fled Amuas, Beit Nuba and Yallu as Israeli soldiers burned each community to the ground. The land is now a popular, forested park with cheery picnic spots and archaeological ruins dating back to the Byzantine period. Signs throughout Canada Park describe the Byzantine ruins – but not the recent history of displaced Palestinians.sign
Eitan Bornstein, director of the group Zochrot, told us of the epic legal effort to place signs explaining the park’s more recent history. After a year-long struggle that went all the way to the Supreme Court, signs with sketchy information were finally erected. Within weeks, they were vandalized and, now, more than a year later, they have still not been replaced.

Smuggling Democracy

March 18th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

I smuggled in Jimmy Carter’s book. I wasn’t sure what scrutiny I might be under coming into Israel, and I didn’t want to chance being denied entry, so I hid the book, hoping it would elude any searches. When I mentioned this to a Jew, she was politely offended and assured me the former US president’s book is available here. When I mentioned this to a Palestinian, he shook his head, marveling at the chance I took.

I haven’t yet read Mr. Carter’s book with the incendiary title “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.” But, I am beginning to learn of the insidious ways Palestinians are subtly subjugated, and how ingrained this conflict is. (more…)

String Theory

March 17th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments 2 Comments »

In nature, there are four universally recognized physical forces of interaction: gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear interaction and weak nuclear interaction. So, which of these forces best describes Neve Shalom~Wahat al-Salam, the award-winning village of 25 Jewish and 25 Palestinian families who have forged a bicultural community in this violently divided nation?nswasnursery.jpg

Meaning “Oasis of Peace” in both Hebrew and Arabic, Neve Shalom~Wahat al-Salam ( is a somewhat isolated village high in the hills overlooking the Latrun Monastery between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. This intimate community runs a bilingual, bicultural primary school for 180 children from the surrounding area, a School for Peace that hosts conflict-resolution seminars, a Spiritual Center and Israel’s only swimming pool where Jews and Palestinians can make more peaceful waves. (more…)

Flipping Perceptions

March 16th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“How the world sees you depends on how you see the world,” begins a provocative ad campaign gracing London’s Heathrow Airport’s walls. Several sets of 4 posters juxtapose 2 similar images and 2 single-word taglines. For example, a photo of a celebrity fending off paparazzi, palms out, hands covering face, has the tagline “INFORMATIVE.” The next photo shows a pack of hungry paparazzi, cameras flashing, with the tagline “INTRUSIVE.” The following photo shows the paparazzi repeated with the tagline “INFORMATIVE,” and the last photo repeats the reluctant celebrity with the tagline “INTRUSIVE.”

Hit the pause button and think about this for a minute. The first 2 photos/taglines depict how the celebrity and paparazzi are typically characterized.

Now, flip it. (more…)

Leaving for Palestine & Israel

March 13th, 2007 | Username By Kelly Hayes-Raitt | Comments No Comments »

“It’s one thing to have your political values,” a former director from the Israeli town of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam once told me. “It’s another thing entirely to live them 24 hours a day.”

Tomorrow, I fly to Israel and Palestine, where I will spend 5 days at Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, ( a village whose name means “Oasis of Peace” in both Hebrew and Arabic. Fifty Israeli and Palestinian families have lived biculturally in this community for 30 years, celebrating each other’s holidays, learning each other’s languages and respecting each other’s differences.

I’ll be visiting their primary school and speaking with children who are learning to respect another culture while their media, government and culture are showing them just the opposite.

On March 20, I will join a Christian Peacemaker Teams ( delegation in Jerusalem. We will spend part of our time in Hebron, on the West Bank, helping Palestinians cross the armed checkpoints so they can get to school and work.

Join me! I will be blogging and posting photos regularly. To be notified when something new is posted, please click the RSS red button above. It’s free!

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