MP praises pic­tures of har­mony

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - BYROSADOHERTY

AN ART­WORK pro­ject by Arab and Jewish women in Is­rael holds the an­swer to peace, says Dud­ley North Labour MP Ian Austin.

Mr Austin was among politi­cians who viewed Wizo’s Olive Tree ex­hi­bi­tion in Par­lia­ment. Es­tab­lished three years ago to pro­mote co-op­er­a­tion, the pro­ject en­ables women from dif­fer­ent back­grounds to find com­mon ground by paint­ing an olive tree, a tra­di­tional sym­bol of peace. The works have al­ready been dis­played at the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment,theS­cot­tishPar­lia­men­tand the United Na­tions.

Mr Austin said the ex­hibits showed “the vi­brant, di­verse and multi-eth­nic democ­racy that is Is­rael. The pic­ture you get in Par­lia­ment about Is­rael and Pales­tine is of­ten po­larised.”

Col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tiv­i­ties such as the Olive Tree pro­ject were the build­ing blocks for peace. “In the end, work­ing to­gether is how the con­flict will be solved.”

Aroundthree­dozen­wo­m­en­took­the paint­ing class at the Gruss Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, lo­cated in the eth­ni­cally mixed neigh­bour­hood of Afula.

Sheila Dvore-Casdi, their teacher, said: “The olive tree means some­thing to­both­Jewis­handArab­wom­e­nandwe found it brought to­gether peo­ple who might not nor­mally meet or speak.”

Daniel Benn, the re­gional li­ai­son of­fi­cer for Wizo pro­grammes, added: “The olive tree is such an im­por­tant sym­bol of peace and un­der­stand­ing. It is also a valu­able and vi­tal com­mod­ity in Is­rael.

“This is about paint­ing the fu­ture.”

The paint­ings con­vey a peace­ful out­look

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