Tuesday next week, 15th July, is also 17th Tammuz, a day of fasting according to the Jewish calendar. It is the start of the three-week mourning period commemorating the First and Second Temples, and the loss of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. This year it also falls during Ramadan, a month during which observant Muslims fast for 30 days during daylight hours.
Over the past few weeks we have witnessed an escalation of violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, including the brutal murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Sha’ar, Naftali Frankel and Mohammed Abu Khedir. Rockets are terrorising the Israeli public, aerial bombardments of Gaza are killing innocent civilians.
Many individuals and organisations have decided to dedicate the fast day next Tuesday to ‘non-violence’ and to ‘peace’; a ‘choose life’ fast. The idea came in a joint visit of Israelis and Palestinians to the home of the family of the murdered teenager Naftali Frankel. All over the world Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, will be fasting together, against violence, and for peace.
If like us, you believe there is another way, that violence begets violence, and that however hard and painful the choices and decisions are that have to made, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to a peace that will guarantee both Israelis and Palestinians self-determination, safety and security, we ask you to fast with us.
What difference will it make?
We intend for this fast to be very public. It is not meant as a ‘feel good’ campaign. We want to send a public message to the media, civil society, opinion-makers and politicians within the Anglo-Jewish community, the wider British society and to Israelis and Palestinians. We want to loudly and clearly call for de-escalation, return of calm, return to the negotiating table and the creation of two states for two peoples, the only way that can guarantee stability and security in the long run.
How to get involved
It’s very simple. To dedicate your fast, just sign up by clicking here. Once you have signed up we will send you some instructions of how to get the word out to your friends and family to ask them to join you, and how to promote the fast and its message in the run-up to the day and on the day itself.
At a time when dark forces are looming over the prospects of peace, I hope you will join us in fasting to show that another way is possible, in solidarity with all Israelis and Palestinians who reject talk of despair, opting instead to engage in dialogue and choose life.
That’s certainly something I can, and will, support.