Friday, June 14, 2013


We spent an afternoon at BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.  The power point presentation was very informative about the issues facing Palestinian Refugees. 

The BADIL websites are a wealth of information and includes electronic copies of all the publications.  This first one contains the legal background of the refugee issues. 
I did not take photos on this afternoon, but BADIL’s second web site, has many video clips and photos.

We can use these web sites to obtain informative fact-sheets, power point presentations and helpful advocacy tools as we put actions to our prayers for a JUST peace. 

Using this information, we will have accurate articles and letters to the editors for our local media.  We will be able to depict adequately Palestinian refugees and their rights under international law, including their right of return. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Midterm Activities

Midterm Orientation

Midterm Orientation is a week away from our placements for further training and awareness building.  We were involved in a number of activities and exposed to a variety of perspectives.

Morning Reflections

Each morning the group gathers for reflection.  A different placement team leads the reflections each day.  This time together gives us an opportunity to reflect on our experiences, learn, and share from the reflections of others.

Training and Activities In Jerusalem 

Parts of Jerusalem are beautiful.  It is evident that the water shortage belongs to the Palestinians, caused by Israeli policy.

In between sessions I walked to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to pick up some maps.

On the way back I stopped in at a Christian book store.  It is operated by a couple through Church School Service.  Laura in the picture, is the grown child of missionaries to the Middle East.

Nader EAPPI’s Advocacy Officer

EAPPI provided an excellent training on how to prepare for the next phase of our assignment, advocacy when we get back to our countries.

Sergio Yahni

An Israeli, Sergio Yahni, gave us an analysis of Israeli society.  He who works for the Alternative Information Center (AIC), an organization jointly run by Israelis and Palestinians in Beit Sahour. 

Yusef Daher

Yusef Daher is one of the Palestinians that are promoting nonviolent actions.  His office is in the Christian Quarter of the old city.  He explained the background for the creation of Kairos Palestine document. 
For him, Kairos Palestine was a defining moment, and one that gave him hope for the future.  In an article by Paul Adrian Raymond he said, “I feel that we are seeing a re-awakening among Palestinian Christians, and Western Christians are starting to listen to us.”

United States Consulate

While in Jerusalem, I had the opportunity to meet with three members of the US Consulate.  A US citizen, Palestinian was in the meeting with me.  It was an opportunity to tell what I have seen and heard. 
I came away from these meetings knowing how each of us interacts with our elected officials will determine the actions taken by our government in Palestine-Israel. 

We were transported via bus to many of the places of interest.   

Bob Lang of Efrat Settlement

Bob Lang, a settler in the Efrat Settlement, hosted our group. In his home, we heard his personal story.  He is proud of his settlement community with its lovely yards and flowers.  His home is beautiful.  He explained that the homes in this settlement sell for $250,000 and up.  Pride of home, family and community were evident, unacknowledged was the fact that all settlements are illegal under international law. 


Sderot is a community a wall away from the Gaza Strip. 

Roni Keider

In Sderot we listened to Roni Keider who gave us an explanation of her life, and the history of her community.  

She indicated that Sderot started as an agriculture community each family receiving land to farm. 
Not discussed, were the Palestinian farmers who in 1948 were forced from this very land.  They are now living in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

She explained her individual work befriending individual Palestinians through an organization she founded, The Other Voice.  She assists Palestinians who are lucky enough to get permits to cross over because of extreme health conditions.  She said she also friends in Gaza that are Palestinians.

On to Haifa

Two nights were spent in the beautiful Stella Maris Convent in Haifa.

I enjoyed browsing in part of their library.    

Having our morning reflections on their patio was a grand experience


In Haifa we listened to a representative of Mossawa,  It is an Israeli organization working on behalf of the Arab citizens of Israel.  She told of the many acts of discrimination experienced by Arab Israeli Citizens.  This is one of the organizations that the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries has open for placement of Individual Volunteers in Missions. 

Ruth Hiller

We also heard Ruth Hiller speak about the demilitarization of Israel Society.  She explained the struggles and changes her family went through when one of her teenage sons announced he was not going into the military.  She has established an organization, New Profile.  New Profile has a web site,  An interesting interview with Ruth Hiller can be found at

Lunch at the German Colony

We had lunch in the German Colony and enjoyed seeing a world heritage site, the Baha’i Garden.  This terrace of the Baha’i faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, is gardens around the Shrine of the Ba’b on Mount Carmel in Haifa. 

Women in Black Israel

We arrived back in Jerusalem in time to attend the Women in Black Demonstration.  This is held every Friday at 1: PM.  This particular afternoon was special because it was the 25th anniversary of the first demonstration.  Over the past years thousands have seen saw the Women in Black.  Sometimes their presence provoked reactions from passers-by on foot and in vehicles.  Some of whom heckled and abused them.  Sometimes using sexualized terms (“whores”) and for their politics (“traitors”.)  Their policy was not to shout back but to maintain silence.

At Women in Black vigils, women carry placards saying, “End the Occupation” and closely related messages.  These demonstrations are nonviolent.  This is the only demonstration in which EAPPI EA's can take an active part.  Usually at demonstrations, we are only standing in solidarity.

During the course of the demonstration, I had a wonderful conversation with the Israeli women in black next to me.

She smiled, but did not want to be in the picture.  Nice use of a hat.  Our conversation continued and we will remain in contact.

Kehilat Yedidya Synagogue

In the evening, Dr. Debborah Weissman, a member of the congregation, introduced us to aspects of the worship service that we were there to attend .  They provided a booklet in English of the words they were singing in Hebrew.  I enjoyed reading along; and recognized many of the Psalms. 
After the service, we went in groups of two for a Shabbat Dinner with members of the congregation.  Because Shabbat had started, no mechanical items may be used, we had to walk to the home of our host.  Also, for that reason I do not have pictures of this experience.  

Midterm Reflections

Midterm Orientation Week, June 3-7, 2013 

From the midterm orientation week, I return with renewed energy.  I return to continue the struggle for JUST peace.  I have new insights from the Israeli people I met some who are going counter to the prevailing culture to work for justice. 

I pondered the worldviews of the settler that talked with us, Bob Lang.  He invited us into his home.  He is proud of his settlement community.  His home was beautiful, lovely flowers and yards in the community.  He explained that the homes sell for $250,000 and up.  Pride of home, family, and community were evident, unacknowledged was the fact that all was illegal under international law.

It was hard for me to listen to Israelis talk about their prosperity.  They have only a five percent unemployment rate.  In the United States, our unemployment rate is much higher.  Our economy is declining.  I am wondering why my country sends five billion dollars yearly into Israel’s prosperous economy, while many in our economy are struggling and are having our government’s help taken from their social programs because of a supposed lack of funds. 

I am also reflecting on the organizations in the United States that are collecting tax free funds to fund activities that are illegal under international law and would be crimes if they were done in the United States.  Some of these are Israeli organizations and some are U.S. churches. 
Perhaps if this tax money went to the United States treasury, funds would be available for our social programs.

For the first time I went to a worship service in a synagogue.  The person who gave the update was progressive in her thinking, she told us this synagogue is to the “left” of all other congregations in Jerusalem.  After the service, we, in groups of two, went to homes for a Shabbat Dinner. 
Depending on which side of the street the families lived, we were having dinner in a settlement or else in the Israeli part of Jerusalem. 
It was refreshing to hear, in my host’s home, how the members of the family and the others who joined in the dinner are working for peace.  They seemed clearly aware of the plight of the Palestinians and were doing actions to change the status quo. 
Others did not have such progressive families with which to interact.

In all this, my personal faith grows.  It grows because people are praying form me and the situation here in Palestine.   In addition, I am encouraged as I reread the Kairos Palestine document.  

“In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope.  We believe in God, good and just.  We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that persists in our land.  We will see here ‘a new land’ and ‘a new human being,’ capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters.

Join with Me in this Cry of Hope.

Believe in God, Good and Just!

Monday, June 10, 2013


Praise God with Me for My Sister, Donna!

Donna's Background

Donna, lives in Florida, she comes to Michigan during Florida's hottest months.  Last year we traveled to Minneapolis to visit the international headquarters of Christians for Biblical Equality,  

On the way home we traveled through Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula seeing the Picture Rocks National Park and the beauty of the Great Lakes.

Donna retired last year after 30 years as a missionary in Africa.  She is a linguist and in that capacity she translated the Bible into two different native tongues.  She was the one that checked the accuracy of the translations based on the original Bible languages.  She knows her Bible.  

Her hobby is studying prophecy and end times.  She is in the process of writing a book on these topics with over three hundred pages of book notes.  Lord willing, we will be together during the end of July and most of August.  

Donna's Zionist Assignment via email Monday June 9th

Dear Donna,

I want to get the whole Zionist issue understood before you leave Michigan.  We will have a lot to work on.


Donna's Gracious Response Two Hours Later

Dear Randie,

I have started in the book of Genesis only, with the original promise to Abraham, and its extension to Isaac, Jacob and the 12 patriarchs. I have just pulled the passages together and not organized them yet.

The second step is Moses and the law, in the light of NT comments about the law NOT cancelling the promises.
We should have a good study time together.


An Invitation for You

The Study of Zionism will be at my house in August.  There is room at the table for 12, other can sit nearby; email me to reserve your place.  Exact times will be announced.  Hope some of you will plan to study with us.    

Understanding Zionism is necessary to understand all that is going on in Palestine and Israel.

Pray for a JUST  peace in Palestine and Israel

Sunday, June 9, 2013


Alternative Travel

For one of my days off at the end of May, I went on a tour of Hebron.  I chose to use the Alternative Tourism Group 

Their web site challenges believers to join them in a pilgrimage of transformation, a journey for justice.  We are asked to respond to the Palestinian Christian’s call to “Come and See.”  The web site is worth the read.  These tours are journeys of truth and transformation that will reveal the love of God to you through the eyes of the Palestinian people who, despite having suffered decades of occupation and dispossession, maintain their dignity, faith and capacity for hope.


The tour started in Jerusalem, then to Beit Sahour.  As we left Beit Sahour, the driver showed us the concrete boundary marker that had been moved in order to allow settlement building.  Beit Sahour has lost land to settlement and now a new one is starting.  Those who are insisting on building have already put up road signs leading to the pending site.

A group of Israeli women has devised a way to take even more land from Palestinian villages.  They call themselves Women in Green.  They make their actions look like they are environmentally conscious, but what they really do is come in and destroy Palestinian farms and plant trees and claim the land for Israel.  

How sad I was to find out they are raising their funds through a United States nonprofit.


Reading the blog from the Christian Peacemaker Team is one of the things that sparked my interest in this area.  I will still be reading their blog, but now I have seen with my own eyes.  At Hebron, settlers have moved into part of the city instead of being on a hilltop nearby.  The settlers have become an abusive force toward Palestinian.  The army is on duty on behalf of the settlers and they “look the other way” when crimes are committed against Palestinians.  This includes crimes against Palestinian  children.  

When the settlers moved to Hebron, the main shopping area was closed down.  What once was a thriving market is now nearly empty.  

Some Palestinians had they doors nailed shut thereby maintaining Israeli only portions of the city.  Palestinians have suffered economic hardship in this city. 

The shopkeepers that are left have had to put netting protection over their goods to keep settler’s garbage, being thrown out of upper windows, from damaging their merchandise.

Shopkeepers extend Palestinian hospitality as they tell their stories.

The children are repeatedly harassed as they go to and from school having to cross through a checkpoint trailer set across the middle of the street.

The army out numbers the settlers many times over and are guarding from their watch posts and walking with guns through the market.

We toured the major sights.  A memorial to the patriarchs is now divided in half. The right half of the building a holy site for those of Jewish faith and the left half a sacred site for those of the Muslim faith..

We had a delicious lunch with a Muslim family, and visited a factory that produces Kuffiyehs and one where pottery and glass blown items are produced. 

Sad to say, you will not see pictures of some of these because I ran out of camera battery.  I did purchase a couple pieces of glassware, so you are invited to my house to see their beauty. 


Check out a ten minute YouTube Video, Hebron: A Besieged City

Pray for Palestinians as they struggle for their livelihoods!