On October 2nd, the Haifa Women Coalition proudly welcomed Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams and eight other members of the Nobel Women for Peace Initiative to our offices in Haifa. The women came to bear witness to the struggles, creativity and inspiring activism of women on the ground to promote justice and build sustainable peace. The delegation traveled to Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth, Ramallah, Hebron and Bil’in, and focused on learning from and highlighting the work of women peace builders.
In 2006, Jody Williams, along with sister Nobel Peace Laureates Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan Maguire founded the Nobel Women for Peace Initiative to bring their united experiences to bear on peace through justice and equality. It is the goal of these women, representing North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, to help strengthen work undertaken in support of women’s rights around the world.
Members of the coalition (including Isha l’Isha, Kayan – Feminist Organization, Aswat – Palestinian Gay Women and the Haifa Rape Crisis Center) introduced their organizations and talked about their efforts to promote equality for women in Israel. Women from Isha l’Isha shared their work to open the discussion of security and broaden its definition to include financial, environmental, and civil aspects, in addition to security from sexual offenses. Throughout the meeting the women shared their stories, feelings, passions and frustrations. Kayan Legal Coordinator Shirin Batshon-Khoury highlighted the coalition as an excellent example of dialogue and coexistence in Israel.
It was an empowering encounter and a fruitful opportunity for women citizens of Israel to communicate their common needs and concerns. It was a meeting where women connected with women, learned from each other’s experiences and stood in solidarity with the goal of amplifying women’s voices for peace.