The Parents Circle Familes Forum - From Media

They work, hope for peace in Israel and Palestine

Joyce Duriga

They work, hope for peace in Israel and Palestine
Palestinian Ali Abu Awwad calls Israeli Avraham Shomroni his brother, but in reality they are from different families on opposite sides of a long and violent conflict between their governments. However, they are compatriots in striving for peace in their neighboring lands.

Shomroni visited the archdiocese's Cardinal Meyer Center, 3525 S. Lake Park Ave., on Nov. 4 as part of Catholic Relief Services' Voices for Peace in the Holy Land speaker tour. Abu Awwad delivered his message by DVD because he was unable to get a visa to travel outside of Israel.

CRS is the official international relief agency of the U.S. bishops. It partners with the Parents Circle Families Forum started in 1995 as a way for Israeli Palestinian families that lost a loved one to the conflict to find peace.

Both Shomroni and Abu Awwad are members of the forum. Shomroni's son died in the Israeli Air Force and Abu Awwad's brother was killed by Israeli soldiers.

The group regularly holds gatherings with young Israeli and Palestinian students introducing them to people from the other side of the conflict. For many students, it is the first time they have met a person from the "other side," Shomroni said.

A few times a year, members of the group gather together. They come from different points of view so often the discussions become heated.

"After every heated discussion we come out even more convinced we have to work together to end the bloodshed," said Avraham Shomroni.

Working for peace in the Holy Land is not unique to the forum.

"We have a lot of peace groups, it's just peace we are short of," Shomroni said.

He said his family doesn't agree with his views of working for peace between the two sides but it is an issue he has long worked for.

Shomroni's parents died in the Dachau concentration camp. He and his siblings were spared when his mother put them on a train to safety before she was sent to the camp.

Like other Israelis and Palestinians, Shomroni believes he won't see a solution in his lifetime but he continues to hope.

"I can only guarantee the struggle. I can't guarantee the outcome," he said in an interview after CRS' presentation.

"Nothing good is automatic," Shomroni said. "In an hour of grace perhaps you can get it."

For more about Catholic Relief Services, visit


Catholic New Wold 

Corrections: Avraham said that his family didn't oppose his views or his activity. Avraham's parents did not die in Dachau.

Read More - From Media

Engaging Grandmothers: Israeli and Palestinian Women Share Their Stories 15/01/2012
From sorrow to peace 29/04/2012
Grieving Israeli mom to Palestinians: ‘Can we talk?’ 15/08/2012
If only Israel were South Africa 02/09/2012
Ypper til karikaturfred 23/10/2012
The Israeli and the Palestinian: 'We have discovered this joint pain' 25/11/2012
Enough 22/11/2012
Partage La Souffrance de ton ennemi 08/12/2012
Blessed Are the Peacemakers 11/02/2013
The IRA veteran and the daughter of a slain MP who preached peace to Israelis 15/03/2013
Drinking tea with the man who killed my father 17/03/2013
Thousands of Israelis attend alternative Memorial Day ceremony in Tel Aviv 14/05/2013
Introducing the Parents Circle Family Forum 08/05/2013
The most dangerous myths about women and war 28/05/2013
Bereaved 13/07/2013
Peace Initiative Palestinian women in TA to promote peace 03/10/2013
What Divides Us? 07/11/2013
Can I reconcile with the man who killed my son 30/12/2013
Tent of reconciliation 15/07/2014
Letters from bereaved mothers - Israeli and Palestinian 17/07/2014
The saddest – and most optimistic – peace organization turns 20 17/10/2014
הצטרפו והשפיעו