A message from Avner to our supporters

Last week we received an unexpected message from Avner who was a part of our Israeli delegation and helped create the film “Burdened”. Currently he’s completing his mandatory military service as a combat soldier in the Israeli army.

“Hey Reena,” Avner said. “I just saw the email and video you sent out to possible donors. It brought me to miss everyone a lot and re-think what a significant point Peace it Together was in my life and in building my point of view on the conflict. And it brought me to write a letter that i've addressed to possible donors,… hoping it might be of help to Peace it Together.”  Here is his letter...

Well, first of all I would like to say hello to all of you and explain a bit of myself and why am I writing this letter to you.

I am a 2008 Peace it Together participant. My name is Avner and I was one of the creators of the movie 'burdened' and am now already 20 years old and am currently a combat soldier in the Israeli army.

I wish to address this letter to all of those who are thinking of contributing to the program, whether if it's financially or in any other assistance to Peace it Together, and try to give you my personal perspective as a past participant.

I can imagine to myself you are probably busy people but I will appreciate it if you will read this letter throughout and invest a few minutes in something that you obviously see as valuable.

The urge to address you actually occurred when I re-saw some of the films that were made in the 2008 camp and understood once more how much this camp influenced my life and the lives of the people who took place in it.
In the camp we had a three week experience that opened our eyes to the sides we could never have seen without it. It enabled me the first possibility to interact with Palestinians and even gave a more fertile ground to speak with Israelis.

The camp opened up to me a full new world - wider, more truthful and much more down to earth then any lesson that I can be taught; it gave me real people and connections, dear friends I have till these very days.
It has made me and its participants into true thinkers of our realty. It has made us into people who have more power to act within our realities and its hard conditions.

For an example you can take Mahmoud, who is working as a photojournalist and a writer and I am proud to call him a speaker of peace wherever he goes. I, myself, am a part of a (non political) movement within Israel that wishes to form a new culture within the country dealing with education in hard communities. Peace it Together enabled me to speak up against racism more loudly because I know the other side and am proud to call them close and dear friends.

And those are just two examples. A lot of us became educators, volunteers for social issues or are studying these issues today in order to be influential and work on them in the future.
I do not wish to portray a sort of portrait in which any of us will be the next Prime Minister or the next Mahatma Gandhi (though those options are not invalid). I only wish to pass a message for us to understand that the moves each of us make today, and where we put our resources today, will affect the future.

The seeds we put now into the ground will be our back yard and fields in the future, and if we will invest in peace, in dialogue, in a ground that will enable change today, we will be able to see harvest and live its fruits in the future.

So I ask of you to think once again of investing your resources in peace; invest them for true living together and understanding; put your deeds behind you beliefs, as the people who run this program have put their lives, and know you have taken a part in peace.
As a wise man once said, "be the change you want to see in the world".

With lots of appreciation and gratitude,

Avner Chamelnick

Israel