I started writing a blog in the Times of Israel in August 2014, during the war in Gaza, Operation Protective Edge. In the almost three years since that war I noticed a disturbing fact: the word “peace” was not one of the keywords offered by the Times of Israel to its bloggers.
This was not a mere accident, in recent years peace has suffered an enormous fall from grace. First came the day of the Israeli elections on March 17, 2015 when the candidate Bibi Netanyahu forgot that he was also the nation’s prime minister and warned “his” supporters against fellow citizens: the Israeli/Arab voters. Then in October 2015, the same Prime Minister announced at a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Meeting that “we will forever live by the sword.” Unfortunately even lately Netanyahu uttered a similar statement when he claimed on Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers 2017 that our lives here depend on the willingness to sacrifice and the bravery of our sons and daughters.
It has become clear that peace was no longer relevant, and every time we say “Shalom,” we don’t mean it. Even worse, peace has become a cynical political word that was associated with the detested Israeli left.
For example, in response to an essay of mine essay about the movement Women Wage Peace, which I posted on Facebook, I received quite a few disturbing comments. In that essay, I stressed the fact that since its inception in 2014, shortly after the end of Operation Protective Edge, Women Wage Peace has insisted that it did not wish to identify with any political party. It started as a grassroots movement which aimed to gather under its umbrella as many women as possible, and it has purposely remained within the consensus focusing only on universal, seemingly non controversial, values. It should have worked: is there a woman who’d admit that she didn’t want peace?
But in response one woman wrote “wishing for peace (shalom) has become just a way of laundering words.” She also insisted that “to say here (in Israel) that peace is not a political matter is either stupid or ignorant.” She wasn’t the only one other women wrote that a post about peace and women should be removed. It seemed like many other universal values and principles in Israel today (among them, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and thou shall not covet), peace too is out of I
But something happened suddenly, perhaps it is only me but I would like to think that it has something to do with the determination and creativity of Women Wage Peace whose members have been working tirelessly toward reaching a diplomatic agreement with our neighbors that will result in peace.
Since Pesach the women of the movement have been very busy: In Hol Hamoed they boarded a Peace Train to Beit Shean, then they held a vigil opposite the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv to demand finding political alternatives to war, they stood outside the Knesset and sat in the State Control Committee on the day when Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the conclusions of the State Comptroller regarding the war in Gaza, and in preparation for President Trumps visit to Israel last Thursday they created a giant human sign that read from the air “Ready For Peace.” On Monday here they were again reminding our leaders outside president Rivlin’s residence that Women Wage Peace expects our leaders to find a peaceful agreement.
I am not sure what exactly happened but I am happy to inform that when, for the purpose of this post, I checked the keywords in Times of Israel I found “peace process” among the key words. We all know that words create reality. Thank you Times of Israel and welcome “peace process”