Two women from an Israeli peace group spoke in Milwaukee in June. Nadia Hamdan, a Druze-Israeli, and Roni Yavin, a Jewish-Israeli, are part of Women Wage Peace. It's an organization seeking a “non-violent and mutually acceptable” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Both women have lost family members in the conflict. The organization started in Israel the summer of 2014, right after the last Gaza operation.
"Every couple of years, we have another operation in Gaza, and nothing changes," says Yavin. "But the lives of the people who got killed or wounded, their lives are destroyed."
She says Women Wage Peace was a spontaneous initiative made up of different women from around Israel.
"We decided to start a women-run organization for peace. And our main goal is to get an agreement that's acceptable and appreciated by both sides, not just [one that] one side will decide for the other," Yavin says.
In 2017, the organization held a peace march with events attended by tens of thousands of women. Recently, they've sent up a 'Mothers' Tent' in Israel's Rabin Square to celebrate International Womens' Day and the 40th anniversary of peace between Egypt and Israel. The group held Iftar feasts in various places around the country for Ramadan.
Yavin says the group is also trying to learn from other places in the world about how they've solved conflicts. "We learn about what happened in Ireland, what happened in Liberia," she says. "Now we have another group of women that will go to South Africa."
The women also confirm the group's bottom line: "We should look for life before war and do everything we can to look for a solution," says Yavin. "And war should be, and killing people should be the last, last, last option after we checked everything before."