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Why so many billions spent on war, while so little is invested in peace

Wednesday 23 July 2014, by Evi Guggenheim Shbeta

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It’s exactly a week ago that, in the middle of conducting a therapy session for a couple, there was a sudden and unexpected blaring of Neve Shalom Wahat al Salam’s air-raid sirens. Shortly afterwards came a phone call from the couple’s 11-year old daughter. She was completely terrified, sobbing and crying. She had awoken her younger brothers and sisters to take them to the saferoom. This was just the beginning. Today, when I saw the couple, they told me that their 4-year is now afraid to leave the house.

In the news today, a Sderot mother and a Gaza father were interviewed. The mother from Sderot said that children cannot take a shower in peace and cannot go to the bathroom quietly, while the father from Gaza said that Gaza’s children cannot shower or use the toilet at all, as they do not have running water...

This new and senseless war in Gaza was preceded by the kidnapping and murder of three young Jewish 16-year olds by Palestinians, followed by massive and aggressive arrests by the army in West Bank and then the capture and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish Israelis. We felt that relations between Jews and Palestinians in the country were on the point of exploding. The level of distrust and tension had become unbearable.

Our response was to convene an emergency meeting with other organizations for peace and human rights. The result was the demonstration that we held last Saturday in Tira, an Arab town near Kfar Saba, under the slogan "We refuse to be enemies!" nearly 400 persons came.

This action was a small glimmer of hope in this dark period.

The many sirens and alarms fray our nerves. We feel helpless in the face of the massive bombing in Gaza. The immense number of dead and wounded there is insufferable.

How long will we continue to invest billions in the machinery of such foolish wars, rather than invest in peace education?

And still, there is another glimmer of hope: In spite of everything, Jewish and Palestinian children arrive daily in Neve Shalom - Wahat al Salam to participate in the summer camp that we organize in collaboration with the "Open House", Ramle.

In hope for better days, I send everyone a warm Shalom, Salam from Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam, which unfortunately in these days is more of an oasis of peace than a spring of peace.

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