Walls of Separation 
Lesley Hayoun, Women Wage Peace

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I have two homelands which I love deeply. Ireland - country of my birth. Israel - country of my choice.

Both torn by war and oppression. 

Ireland: A divided country, the Irish Republic in the South, British rule in the North. Witnessing the impact of terror and bloodshed. Living in an affluent neighborhood in a large house surrounded by a high wall. I am nine years old my parents are constantly busy.

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Feeling lonely and excluded I search for friendship, climbing the wall to behold a world so different to mine, a long row of tiny cottages. My brothers climb up on either side, penning me in, I can no longer move. Thwarted, I am completely helpless. Tears of frustration drop silently onto my cheeks.

Determined, balancing on the handle of the locked back door I see two young sisters who invite me to play. Overcoming my fear, I lower myself over the wall into their welcoming arms. Their acceptance and compassion, sowing the seeds for my activism.

Visiting Ireland in 2007 traveling North, I was amazed to discover that the border stations of my youth were gone, made redundant by the peace agreement. 

Israel: Appalled by the ever-increasing animosity, hostility, and inequality between us and the Arabs. I join Women Wage Peace, marching together with these inspiring women, striving for peace. I feel that I have finally come home, regaining the sense of purpose and belonging I had discovered as a child.

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If the Irish succeeded after hundreds of years, we too can make a sustainable peace. 

As women, we can dissolve the walls of hatred and violence between Israelis and Palestinians through understanding and compassion.

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Lesley Hayoun, educator and activist, member of Women Wage Peace, a grassroots organization of Israeli women of every background, religion, and political affiliation aiming to reach a diplomatic Peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians with the full participation of women. Member of Servas, International Organization promoting peace, tolerance, and understanding, through traveling and hosting.

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