January 20, 2019

A Palestinian and a Settler in Dialogue

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger and Ali Abu Awad returned to Los Angeles Sunday, March 20, to speak about their efforts on behalf of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

The two appeared before an audience at Leo Baeck Temple at an event co-sponsored by numerous area groups and synagogues.

Schlesinger is an Orthodox rabbi, originally from New York, who for the past 30 years has lived in the West Bank in Gush Etzion. In 2014 he encountered his first Palestinian for interfaith dialogue, and has since co-founded ROOTS, a local initiative for Israeli-Palestinian non-violence and cooperation.

Awad was jailed by Israel during the First Intifada for stone throwing and illegal political activity. During the course of a 17-day hunger strike, he read the works of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela and became devoted to non-violent change.

During the Second Intifada, Awad was shot by an Israeli in a drive-by shooting. While in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment he received word his brother had been shot and killed by an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint. Awad became involved in the Bereaved Families Forum that beings together Israeli and Palestinian families touched by violence.  He founded Taghyeer, a movement within Palestinian society for non-violent change.

The two have made almost annual visits to Los Angeles, last year speaking at IKAR and Pico Union Project.  The Jewish Journal videotaped their appearance at Pico Union.  For readers who missed them last night at Leo Baeck, we’re reposting below: