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Bat Shalom Statement

November 2000

"We, women of Bat Shalom, are committed to act, advocate and fight for equal rights between Jews and Arabs within Israel.

We believe that in order to bring about genuine and lasting social changes, it is important that women fulfill central roles in this struggle. We feel that the struggle for peace includes the struggle for equality and partnership between all citizens; Jews and Arabs, women and men.

Inequality is not just an "Arab" problem, but the problem of Israeli society in general which affects the entire society and its character; it enforces racist stereotypes and encourages disregard for human values. The joint struggle paves the way for changing opinions and concepts, it is an important part in realizing the idea of cooperation and equality.

With the goal of creating real and just co-existence, we are working for recognition, equality, cooperation and the honoring of all peoples, nations, cultures and religions existing in our area; our goal is to achieve equality between all the citizens in Israel.

We believe that all the people living in this area, women and men, have the right to live in freedom and equality.

We demand the enforcement of equality, the equalization of conditions and budgets in the following areas:

The right to a home; a solution for the displaced, the uprooted and the uncharted villages, zoning plans for development and residential construction, reserve land and water resources, and the establishment of new Arab towns and villages.

The right to education and cultural expression; there is an urgent need for affirmative action; building of new schools and nursery schools, additional classrooms and teaching positions for the existing schools; development of study programs that will express the Palestinian heritage and cultural values; use of Arabic as an official language in all documents issued by government offices.

The right to work and make a living; the creation of industrial areas in the Arab areas; implementation of the law against discrimination in work and salaries; development of plans for training and advancement of workers in scientific and technological jobs.

The right to health and welfare; creation of clinics and health centers in Arab towns, development of preventative medicine; advancement of plans for rehabilitation of special groups.

The right to personal security; eliminate the use of firearms against demonstrators and the dismissal of Elik Rom, police chief of the Northern Command, who was personally responsible for shedding the blood of Arab citizens in northern Israel.

We demand that all these subjects be placed on the public agenda.

Peace can exist only when all citizens have equal rights."

Bat Shalom is a feminist peace organization working toward a just peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Bat Shalom, together with The Jerusalem Center for Women, a Palestinian women's peace organization, comprise The Jerusalem Link. Visit our web site for more information and our latest activities:

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