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Adult Education: Combatants for Peace – Non-violent Peacebuilding in Israel and Palestine
March 19 @ 10:10 am - 11:00 am
Sunday, March 19
Join Westminster Presbyterian Church and Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) for a conversation about non-violent peacebuilding and advocacy related to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. You will hear from Yoni Kallai and Ismail Assad from Combatants for Peace about how they were compelled to break cycles of violence in Israeli and Palestinian society and work for collective peace and justice. Kyle Cristofalo from CMEP will speak about the role the American church plays in advocating for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
Ever since Ismail Assad was young, he was determined to work for freedom and equality for Palestinians. During the first Intifada he was shot in the face by an Israeli bullet and lost his eyesight for three months as a result. In response, he joined the resistance and was arrested nearly 10 times and imprisoned on and off for seven years. In jail he had the opportunity to read and educate himself about the conflict, the occupation, and the resistance. He has since become a nonviolence activist, working together with Israeli partners to bring peace and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.
Yoni Kallai is a former Israeli Military combat officer who served in the army for five years and later as an officer in the reserves. His unit was active in all fronts between the northern borders, Gaza, and the West Bank. Growing up in Jerusalem during the mid-90s, he suffered directly from terror attacks, including the loss of two schoolmates when he was 15 years old. He grew up believing that the military was the only way to protect his society, but after serving in the army came to realize that never-ending militarization and war was only hurting both peoples.
Kyle Cristofalo serves as the Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations for Churches for Middle East Peace. Kyle holds a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from Messiah College, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology. He was first introduced to Middle East advocacy work during a semester abroad in Cairo, Egypt. After graduating from college, Kyle spent 10 months serving with the Mennonite Central Committee in Bethlehem, Palestine, where he worked with Bethlehem Bible College. Most recently, Kyle served as the Program Assistant for Middle East Policy at the Friends Committee on Legislation where he helped coordinate lobbying work on Middle East policy and trained grassroots advocates on how to lobby their Congressional representatives.