Subject: Finding Hope in the Darkness

The Joint Israel-Palestinian Joint Memorial Ceremony stands as a unique symbol of humanity and persistence.
Dear Friend,

With Palestinians and Israelis grieving our losses together, the Ceremony has become a massive symbol of hope and change. Unfortunately, it has become painfully obvious that we can not rely on our political leaders to make peace for us - we must build it from the bottom up. Our Memorial Ceremony, which is co-hosted by the Bereaved Parents Circle/Family Forum, began as a small ceremony of 50 people in 2005. It is now the largest event of the Israeli peace camp every year, with 7,000 people attending last year. In addition, over 55,000 people worldwide have observed the event in recent years.
We have a powerful message of nonviolence and mutual dignity, and some would prefer that this message be suppressed. It’s no secret that the right-wing government and its allied political groups are trying to silence organizations like ours, organizations that are taking a stand against the occupation – and a stand against hate. Combatants for Peace has become a target, and our annual joint Memorial Ceremony has been consistently attacked.
We began to feel the pressure in 2017 when, just two days before the event, the government revoked the permits for hundreds of grieving Palestinians planning to attend the ceremony. We had to hold a parallel ceremony in the West Bank. In 2018 we fought back: when the government canceled our permits, we went to the Supreme Court and we won. 
In 2017, violent right-wing demonstrators outside threw urine and garbage on the grieving families. Subsequently we organized meetings with these demonstrators, and slowly, even these people began to open their hearts and were transformed. Although the local authorities in Israel tried to prevent these meetings, again, we went to the courts and we won.
In 2018 we were unable to find a venue willing to host us. One excuse after another was offered, from security concerns, to political concerns, to simply, “No!” The only option left was to hold the event outside, in Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park. This required additional security, infrastructure, and equipment – all unexpected expenditures, in addition to the high cost of the venue itself. What seemed like a burden turned into a blessing – 7,000 people attended the Ceremony last year, more than any indoor venue could hold.

This year, we anticipate 10,000 people attending our Ceremony.
We will not be silenced. 
Once again, we will hold the joint Memorial Ceremony in Yarkon Park.  Still, we face the formidable task of raising funds well beyond our usual resources. We cannot do it without your help, as friends and supporters joining us in our nonviolent struggle. Help ensure democratic rights, freedom and equality for all people. Help us to build a new reality, a reality based on peace for all in Israel and Palestine.
In today’s times it is easy to give into despair, but we do not have the privilege of giving up hope. Love, solidarity and courage will always overcome hatred and fear. We cry out together…
 War is NOT an Act of Fate! There is Another Way!
Combatants for Peace, Ushiskin 113, 47204, Ramat HaSharon, Israel
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