Last weekend, 45 women – Palestinian and Israeli, Arab and Jewish, Arabic and Hebrew speaking – gathered together in Nazareth to share stories, listen to one another, and to dream. These are women of different nations, races, and languages all united in their love for Jesus Christ and their burning desire for peace. The simple act of these women from the different sides gathering together in unity and love, is a tangible picture of peace.
Musalaha’s Women’s Narrative Training Conference began with conversations and fellowship, crafted to bring everyone together in shared laughter before diving into difficult subjects. After this, everyone walked to a nearby restaurant for dinner. Sharing food facilitates building community faster than anything, and this time was filled with meaningful connection. As the night ended, every woman was assigned a hotel room with a stranger. Though initially uncomfortable, this somewhat “forced intimacy” enabled inevitable friendships to be formed by morning.
The morning began with worship, which was perhaps one of the most powerful moments of the conference, as we sang praises to the Lord in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. All worshiped together in every language, and God understood each one! God is truly a God of all peoples and nations, of every race, tribe, and tongue, and these women are examples of that.
After worshiping together in unity, two brave women stepped up and shared their narratives with the group. First we heard the Israeli narrative, then the Palestinian. Each one presented the most common national narrative accepted by their communities and then added challenges to that narrative that are believed by many, but proven false. This allowed us all to take a breath and understand that no one is 100 percent correct and we can accept parts of the other’s narrative without agreeing with all of it. Once we heard the two separate narratives, groups broke off to create new narratives. Each narrative is a shared vision for peace and a united future. While the new narratives were shared, the hope in the room was tangible as laughter and cheers filled the air.
When the conference was brought to a close, every woman returned to her own home with new friendships, a fresh perspective, a dream for the future, and hope in her heart.
The courage of these women who gathered together, to lay down their prejudices and preconceptions, to surrender their claim to victimhood or superiority, and to allow the other side a chance to be heard and to be understood was truly mind-blowing and encouraging. We admire their willingness to band together not only as Palestinians and Israelis, but as women of a united heavenly kingdom with a common mission to bring peace and reconciliation to God’s people. Despite their differences and grievances, we believe their presence here is a powerful step towards peace. Despite the separate and different narratives in which each woman lives, we all have a common narrative. Israeli or Palestinian are only temporary labels for we are all one nation in Christ. These women are united in an eternal narrative of unity and peace in Jesus Christ. These women are kingdom carriers and kingdom builders. These women are change generators. These women are peacemakers. These women inspire hope for a future.
Written by our Interns
Trinity Western University