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Seeking Peace, Pursuing Justice

Seek peace...and pursue it : Psalm 34:15

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II. Seeking Peace Bulletin

Issue #9
FEBRUARY 4, 2002

MULTI-FAITH ACCORD SIGNED IN EGYPT

The week of January 21, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt, signed an accord condemning violence in the Middle East. The text stated: “The violence in the Holy Land is an evil which must be opposed by all people of good faith. We seek to live together as neighbors, respecting the integrity of each other's historical and religious inheritance.” Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior is credited with bringing the group together for this historic statement.(Ha’aretz, 1/22/02)

For a full text of the statement, please go to: http://www.seekpeace.org/Articles/Alexandria.html

IDF RESERVISTS REFUSE TO SERVE IN WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP

In letters and ads in Hebrew newspapers, just over 100 IDF combat reservists announced they no longer intend to "take part in the war for the peace of the settlements." This public announcement drew both criticism and praise from politicians. As MK Tamar Gozansky (Hadash) applauded the reservists’ move, MK Ron Cohen (Meretz) said he, too, understands the reservists' feelings but feels that in this time of crisis, such public protest and refusal to serve is not productive. Peretz Kidron, a member of the grassroots group Yesh Gvul, said that since October 2000 more than 400 soldiers have refused to serve in the territories. (Jerusalem Post, 1/28/2)

ARAB STUDENTS TO GET A MUCH NEEDED BOOST

In late January, the Israeli Council of Higher Education accepted the recommendations of a subcommittee set up to determine ways of extending higher education among the Arab population. A survey commissioned by the subcommittee found a large gap between Jewish and Arab students on university campuses. Their recommendations include: increasing access to university preparatory institutes; increasing Arab access to universities; helping Arab students to overcome obstacles presented by the introductory exams; and increasing academic and economic support to Arab students. (Ha'aretz, 1/30/2).

SAN FRANCISCO FEDERATION HELPS ETHIOPIAN IMMIGRANTS…

The San Francisco Jewish Community Federation awarded over $165,000 to assist programs for adult Ethiopians in Israel, centering on improving vocational and teaching skills. Such training programs aim to integrate Ethiopian-born teachers into the Israeli school system and to help integrate Ethiopian Israelis into the workforce. Both of these programs are administered through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The need to focus on Ethiopian adults is essential. Two-thirds of those aged 45 and over are unemployed. (Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, 1/25/02)

AND ACTS TO IMPROVE ARAB AND BEDOUIN LIFE

The same San Francisco Jewish Federation, on the advice of their Israeli Advisory Board, decided to grant programs that address the unique concerns of Israeli Arabs, totaling 14 projects in the amount of $468,020. These focus primarily on Arab children and their educational development. There are also several projects aimed at Arab women as well as projects to promote Jewish and Arab coexistence. (Jewish Bulletin of Northern California, 1/25/02)