OneVoice Israel’s Shir Lachish partnered with OneVoice Palestine’s Mohammad Asideh in an April 2011 speaking tour of the Midwest where the two youth leaders advocated for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
New York, October 31, 2011—Shir Lachish, from OneVoice Israel, reflects on her experiences as a youth leader during the Midwest speaking tour in April 2011 and what can change if we imagine peace for the future of Israel.
OneVoice: What is your first significant memory of partnership with the Palestinian side? What did you learn?
Shir: Probably at the Parent’s Circle. I learned how important it is to look at the future because we have to let the past go... [Israelis and Palestinians] have such different views about their history. The gap is wider than I thought.
OneVoice: How have you personally witnessed grassroots activism?
Shir: You can see it in the Arab Spring. All the nations are taking responsibility for what is going on in their nation. And you can see it in Israel as well—not regarding the conflict but regarding social rights and social justice. People learn that it’s not just me in this country, but I can make a difference, and I can make a change.
Shir: I think going with a Palestinian partner, I’ve worked with Palestinians before, but working with a Palestinian for almost 24 hours a day, it made me more understanding toward the Palestinian side.
OneVoice: How did this experience make you more understanding toward the Palestinian side exactly?
Shir: It was because I knew his side about everything. Having the whole story, having the whole story in front of you, with a person you like, a person you know on a personal level, rather than a person you don’t know.
OneVoice: How would achieving peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impact your life?
Shir: There would be less money invested in the conflict…More money is going to be invested in things like students. And that would eventually go back to me…On a personal level, I could go to Ramallah. I heard a lot about it. It would be very great to finally be able to go there. I would love to meet Mohammad Asideh in Nablus. He told me all about the tasty kanafe they have. It is nice to have this option.
OneVoice: What would peace look like for those living in Israel?
Shir: Safety. It is the main thing for people here. You are always scared looking around you. This feeling of paranoia will go away [if peace were achieved].
Shir will join her Palestinian counterpart, Thuraya Aghbar, in leading an International Education Program tour of London from November 5-11.