Today marks a milestone for IAN as I prepare to depart on our first progressive women leaders’ mission to Israel. It’s one I have long anticipated as IAN’s managing director and I’m delighted to partner with the National Council for Jewish Women to lead what is sure to be a memorable, informative and eye opening look at the narrative of Israel and its citizens.
This eight day trip will provide these leaders an opportunity to see Israel and her neighbors through a gender-specific lens. Our travels will engage the mind, heart, soul and body while exploring local communities, meeting government leaders and discussing key issues that concern Israelis and their neighbors.
When we land today, we’ll head to the seaside town of Caesarea. We will provide an overview on issues on the ground in Israel. Hardly a day goes by that Israel, a country which, despite its small land mass and population, isn’t mentioned in the international media. I look forward to beginning what is sure to be a dynamic and fascinating discussion.
This is just the first of many such gatherings we’ll have over the coming week. We’ll sit down with Jewish, Arab, Palestinian and Christian women, be briefed on security in the Golan Heights, meet with women Knesset MKs, learn about grassroots LGBT activism in Tel Aviv, tour Yad Vashem, and bring in Shabbat in Jerusalem with women activists who work on issues of common concern from equal rights in the workplace and society, separation of religion and state to issues of peace and security.
Seeing and learning, raising questions and seeking answers together are essential in enriching the conversation about Israel, Israelis and her neighbors in a positive and productive manner. This is another step in building an understanding of the democratic Jewish State of Israel and the importance of advancing the goal of two states for two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, living side-by-side in peace and security.
This is the first in a series of updates I’ll be sharing with you from Israel. For even more timely messages, I encourage you to follow our hashtag #womeninisrael on Twitter. I look forward to updating you all again here soon.