Episode 7: A Sisterhood for Change
Israelis Hamutal and Samah — one Jewish, the other Arab — are feminist activists from communities that don't always see eye to eye. Through their friendship, they embody the power of showing up despite having conflicting identities. The result? A feminist coalition combating domestic violence.
In Episode 7 we meet Samah Salaime and Hamutal Gouri, feminists who were among the organizers of a women's strike that brought out thousands of women – and men – into streets across the country in December to express their outrage over the murders of girls and women in Israel just days after the bodies of two teenage girls were found within twenty-four hours. The protests were organized by the "Red Flag Coalition"—a collective of Jewish and Arab feminist organizations.
Samah and Hamutal met through their activism and became close friends. When they are together there's lots of laughter and joking. Hamutal who is Jewish, teases Samah that she is a Palestinian Jewish mother.
"I have this theory, it's a very serious theory. You know how they always make fun of the New York Jewish mothers … or especially Polish Jewish mothers? But I always say that Polish Jewish mother is not an ethnic identity, it's a state of mind. And she (Samah) can give courses to Polish Jewish mothers," Hamutal says, smiling. "She's like the quintessential Polish Jewish mother - she can make you feel guilty in a snap."
"I can tell her, 'How are you? We haven't met in a long time, I miss you.' And she will say, 'Well you don't come to visit.'"
So in this episode, Hamutal visits Samah in the village where she lives with her family in the hills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It's called Neve Shalom/Wahat as-Salam. It means Oasis of Peace and it's the only communal village of its kind in Israel, created by Jews and Arabs who wanted to show that their communities could live together in peace.
They talk about the strong mothers and grandmothers who helped shape them and their feminist activism, their very different, but intertwining family histories and how their friendship thrives precisely because they choose to talk about the hard stuff.
After you listen:
Find out more about "She's Gone", an international art exhibit that protests the growing incidents of gender based violence and murder, and gives victims a voice.
Check out this moving song version of the poem Baab el Waad, words by Haim Gouri, sung by Yaffa Yarkoni.
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