It is very hot when we arrive at the high-school in Kfar Qasim, where 500 members of our partner organization Standing Together are gathering. Standing Together is a movement that is trying to combine the struggle for peace, equality and social justice in Israel, led by Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. forumZFD supported the realization of both assemblies that have happened so far.
In the past three months the movement grew rapidly, from 600 members in the beginning of April, to 1,500 today, as Alon-Lee Green, one of the founders and leaders of Standing Together told us. He also shared with us his thoughts about the purpose of this gathering.
“This is the event where we stop a moment to look back on what we did, on our challenges, our successes and we also take time to look forward, to think together, to talk, to get to know each other, and to understand that what we are building is not only an organization, is not only a movement, is not only a community, and it’s not only power, but all of it together. Today is the day where we combine all of these things”.
So, what did people actually do? First of all, the movement collectively agreed on some basic, shared values and principles. Over the past year the movement has worked on a mission document, titled the “Theory of Change”. The result of this joint process was presented and ratified at the meeting where members took decisions together. Throughout the year, they also had the chance to hand in proposals on how to improve as a movement. At the convention, these resolutions were discussed and voted upon. Finally, they collectively decided who will be in charge of coordination in the next term, as the new leadership team, consisting of 25 Arabic and Jewish women and men, was elected.
We also had the chance to talk to Hadeel Azzam Jalajel, the content manager of Standing Together, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who says that her two children brought her to the movement, as she was looking for a way to contribute to a better future, more perspectives for her daughter and her son. When we asked her what her vision for Standing Together is, she told us without hesitation:
“Diversity! We even have staff dedicated to working on this. I would love to see Standing Together as a diverse community, including different people who are equal and work on equality. It is important to me to also see my own community and inner society more active in movements for change because today there are a lot of people who get depressed, because the situation in Israel is depressing. If people are not taking action, there is no hope. When people are taking action, there is hope.”