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February 2023 | The Ever-Changing Situation, Challenges, Opportunities in this Part of the Middle East

My Healing Across the Divides work over the past few weeks provides a sense of both the challenges and the possibilities that currently exist in this increasingly turbulent part of the world. The overarching situation is simply dismal and getting worse – both in Israel and, particularly, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; our challenge is how to respond. Our response is to work with our inspiring grantees and, with your engagement and support, to fund new grantees. The leaders of these groups are truly committed, engaged individuals who are, together with their staff, putting their all into their communities. Over time, they represent the future, the possibility for real change. To quote the anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed  citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” 

The Study Tour is our most impactful way to expose people to the realities on the ground. This year’s study tour will occur from March 12-22 and I am hard at work making last minute changes. One of the many enjoyable aspects of working on our annual HATD Study Tour is arranging for outside speakers. This year we will be having the political analyst and pollster Dahlia Scheindlin, journalist Haggai Matar, and new speakers such as the journalist Amjad Iraqi, and the author Fida Jiryis, who just published Stranger in My Own Land: Palestine, Israel and One Family’s Story of Home. I’ve been in contact with each of these individuals to make final arrangements while sending out interesting articles for Study Tour participants to read including recent pieces by Israeli literary critic Hillel Halkin and Palestinian human rights lawyer Raja Shehadeh.

Over the past month, as some of our grants are expiring (our grants are three years in length) we are exploring new community groups to fund and work with. We will likely be funding a joint initiative between an already existing grantee focused on drama mental health therapy in the flashpoint Hebron area in the West Bank (Yes Theatre) and a new grantee Siwar (based in East Jerusalem) providing similar services. If you are familiar with a community group needing funds and operating either in Israel or the West Bank, please refer them directly to me.

In addition, we will be making a new call for proposals from community groups. I would be happy to send the call for proposals to anyone interested in providing us with feedback. Just email me directly at norbert@healingdivides.org. This search for input applies to the HATD board and board committees, and we would appreciate input from our supporters as well. We have a wonderful, diverse board and are always looking for new HATD Board members. The best way to get a flavor of the work is to first join a committee such as working with grantees, communications and fund-raising. Please contact me if you are interested.

Lastly, below please find information and registration for our next zoom event – one that focusses on an extremely discriminated against group in Israel – refugee asylum seekers from Africa. See below and hope to see you there. As always, thanks for your support and all feedback welcome!

Norbert Goldfield, MD | Founder and Executive Director