She stares at the camera, an Israeli teenager who sings with Arab and Jewish kids in the Jerusalem Youth Chorus. In David Broza’s new movie about Israelis and Palestinians who build bridges using music, she describes, “Arabs and Jews singing together for peace, which doesn’t happen in real life.” And then she laughs ironically in the middle of the sentence, knowing that what she and her peers are doing seems odd, unrealistic.
Isn’t that heartbreaking? 66 years after the State of Israel was founded, she is so pessimistic that she believes peace and reconciliation don’t happen in “real life,” outside a recording studio!
We at Ameinu believe they can happen. And we believe that an Israel where peace, justice and equality are not empty promises is still possible. So does our good friend David Broza. Please read on for David’s letter about Ameinu and consider supporting Ameinu today. And check out the P.S. where David offers special gifts to Ameinu supporters.
I believe that an Israel where peace, justice and equality exist is a possibility and not just an empty dream.
I am not alone in thinking this and in believing that we can and must work for this goal. In Ameinu I have found a partner and the vision we share is not too far from being reached.
I have worked in this ‘field of dreams’ and visions for almost four decades. I follow the footsteps of my grandparents and parents, all of whom were part of the dream and worked to make it come true. The dream was more than just the creation of Israel, which in itself, while great, would not have been enough. The dream then, and the vision now must include ‘PEACE, JUSTICE and EQUALITY.”
If my grandfather, Wellesley Aron, who at 80 years old, helped found the outstanding Israeli-Palestinian village of Neve Shalom-Wahat al Salam, an oasis of peace, were still alive today… he would have witnessed a community living together calmly while dealing with an outside environment of escalating injustice.
When I started planning the recording of my latest album East Jerusalem West Jerusalem and the filming of it in East Jerusalem, I knew I would have to deal with obstacles such as prejudice, fear, boycott etc. However it didn’t stop me from pursuing the goal. It was, at times, not easy to convince even my close friends and musicians, who have accompanied me for years. This is what happens when fear overpowers ideals and tramples over hope. But we persevered and the CD and the film were created.
I invited the Jerusalem Youth Chorus from the Jerusalem YMCA, a choir made up of Palestinian teenagers from East Jerusalem and Jewish Israeli kids from West Jerusalem. The choir meets on a regular basis just to sing together. Recording them on the CD was a new experience for them. At the studio they were given time to play around in the back yard and argue, explain, talk and listen. It was clear that this opportunity simply is not part of the reality we live in, however, they were able to laugh, scream and enjoy being with each other. They broke out into song spontaneously and the harmony came naturally.
This opportunity is just one example of the interaction needed in order for the two sides to get to know each other as individuals, as people and not just “the other.” These young people don’t kid themselves. They know that this is an ‘unreal’ reality and they laugh about it in defiance and keep working together. They have learned that they have more in common than they thought and that the differences can add to the harmony.
They believe in singing together and working out their differences.
As I travel around the world giving concerts, I meet a lot of different people, some are Jews, others not. They all ask the same questions: “When will there be peace?” I find much skepticism but not a disregard for what can happen. However there is a growing loss of hope in the tone of many whom I meet. Certainly most of this skepticism comes simply from lack of information and sometimes miss-information and often via the media.
We are exposed to sensationalized media and little hopeful reporting. There is a dearth of information about the different organizations working to correct the policies and actions that drive us further from peace.
I am happy to tell you that Ameinu is at the forefront of those organizations. They keep you informed here and they are active on the ground, in the Middle East. I proudly support the work of Ameinu. This organization is supportive of a pluralistic society in Israel, working for social justice and for a just two state solution.