Contents V8N2

The  BeZine

Volume 8                  June 15, 2021                  Issue 2

Waging Peace
through finding common ground

Cover art: Still Life with Goldfish and Lotus
Kat Patton

Digital Image


Introduction

The theme for the summer issue of 2021 is Waging Peace through Common Ground. To wage peace by common ground, we must develop empathy. We must learn to see each other, hear our words, and feel our emotions. This is the work of us as individuals. And we have to then find the links that would allow us to work together on common ground for the common good. And among the pressing common goods that need working, next to and intertwined with social justice and climate change, is peace.

In the past weeks war broke out again here in Israel. While the leaders of Israel and Hammas may demonstrate little empathy for the other side, the people do feel empathy—especially for the children killed, for the children hiding in shelters in fear on both sides. For children missing childhood. Ameen al-Bayed, a Palestinian, and Ester Karen Aida, an Israeli Jew, contribute essays that demonstrate and call for empathy. Both do work in Non-Violent Communication. Other contributors address the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as well. And still other contributors address a range of topics related to waging peace—from mental well-being to social justice to the environment and more—and the need for common ground.


Finding common ground does not mean agreeing with objectionable, unethical, or criminal ideas and behavior. For me, it means using empathy to understand another person or group of people where possible, and recognizing what beliefs, experiences, and goals we have in common (among other possible commonalities). Before the the war here in Israel a group of political party leaders with seemingly little common ground began forming a coalition, which they completed after the ceasefire. This week a new government was sworn in to replace Benjamin Netanyahu, after 12 years.

For the first time an Israeli-Arab party has joined an Israel government, with a cabinet ministerial post as part of the deal. A far-right religious party leader will have the first term as prime minister in a power-sharing agreement and a centrist party leader the second. The party has left-wing Meretz and centrist-left Labor parties, a strong secularist party and the far-right religious party. This is also the most diverse cabinet in history. Besides unseating Netanyahu, which they succeeded in doing, what could they have in common?

Bret Stephens, a former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post and now a columnist for The New York Times, suggests today (15 June) that they have formed a truly democratic coalition built on creating a functioning government that will work together to run the state. They have chosen a pragmatic solution to assure that the government of Israel can move on from a divisive politics headed by Netanyahu to a pragmatic politics. Each party had to let go of platform planks and ideological values while negotiating core issues of the most immediate concern. This is finding common ground.

The government hasn’t been sworn in for even 48 hours as I write this. Its experiment may not work. Possibly, though, this historic government will help a divisive, “blood sport,” politics move into a more inclusive and practical politics that can compromise in the areas we don’t have in common while focusing on moving forward on those areas in most need—our urgent common ground:

May peace prevail on earth.

—Michael Dickel, Editor


Some changes

With the first issue of our eighth volume (year), you may have noticed some changes. Most of the changes are tweaks here and there to the visible look of the pages. One very visible change is the Table of Contents below. Using a technical, behind-the-scenes tool of WordPress, the entries in our ToC are now automatically generated. As we learn to use the tool better, we will refine the formatting. 

Also new since last issue, there is a button at the top of the ToC for browsing the whole issue. If you click on that, you will arrive at the “Cover.” As you scroll down, you will see this Intro and ToC again. However, keep on scrolling and you will be able to see all of the pages of the journal. Just keep scrolling to keep reading.

And, in case you want to come back to the ToC, you will find a button to do just that at the bottom of each content page—it is a small version of Kat Patton’s wonderful cover art. 

During this year we will continue to work on the look, feel, and design of The BeZine. This is how we are working to sustain the Zine, in hopes that this will make a better experience for you, our readers.


  

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