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Bereaved Families Lead the Way in Israeli-Palestinian Reconciliation

Amidst the backdrop of the ongoing war in Gaza, “Shared Grief, Shared Hope: Bereaved Palestinians and Israelis for Peace” stands as a testament to the power of empathy and the human spirit’s capacity for reconciliation. This event, held on February 3 at BJ, brought together bereaved Israelis and Palestinians in a poignant dialogue about loss, hope, and the unwavering belief in peace as the only solution.

Featuring Robi Damelin and Mohamed Abu Jafar from The Parents Circle–Families Forum, their stories illuminate the path from personal tragedy to collective healing.

Here are a few moments to watch from this event:

Mohamed Abu Jafar: “This was the first time I saw the human side of the other.”

Watch Mohamed’s entire story, including how he got involved with the Parents Circle.


In it, he takes us through what it was like growing up and being born in Jenin, in the West Bank, the story of the loss of his brother, why he decided to become an intensive care nurse, and how difficult it was for him to be in the same room as Israeli soldiers when he went to his first Parents Circle event. Listen to his incredibly powerful story as he shares his journey to where he is today.

Robi Damelin: “I realized we shared the same pain. And the tears are the same color.”


Robi Damelin, whose son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper in 2002 while guarding a checkpoint during his army reserve service, shares how her getting involved in the Parents Circle led her to realize how powerful women who suffered loss on both sides coming together could be.

(Robi was later named a 2015 Woman of Impact by Women in the World and selected by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice as one of four Women PeaceMakers.)

Robi Damelin: “You can’t have peace and reconciliation without knowing what we are responsible for.”


Robi shares candidly what it is like for women she knows in their network right now who live in the West Bank and voices her desire for Israel to be a moral country where everyone, including Palestinians, enjoys safety and equal rights.

Rabbi Felicia Sol: “Anything that we can do to lift up the voices that are saying there’s another way.”


Bringing the conversation to a close, Rabbi Felicia Sol reiterates our communal commitment to raising up the voices of those on both sides who are advocating for peace.

Through their experiences, Robi and Mohamed demonstrated how shared grief could be transformed into shared hope. They stressed the importance of dialogue, empathy, and recognizing the humanity in “the other” as crucial steps toward building a sustainable peace.

Their commitment to these principles, even in the face of opposition, serves as a powerful example of what it means to truly work for reconciliation.

But the event did not merely recount stories of loss.

It was a profound reminder of the resilience of the human heart and the possibility of healing in even the most divided communities. By choosing empathy over enmity, Rob and Mohamed, and all those involved with The Parents Circle offer us invaluable lessons in the power of hope and the unyielding belief in a peaceful future.

As we reflect on their message, let us carry forward the spirit of understanding and compassion they championed.