An Arab man and a Jewish woman have been cited for helping lead a group of bereaved Palestinian and Israeli families.
Aziz Abu Sarah and Lily Yaffe were recognized with the 2008 Victor J. Goldberg Prize for Peace in Middle East from the Institute of International Education for their work as facilitators of The Parents Circle Family Forum. The fourth annual award, whose recipients share a $10,000 prize, recognizes their success in promoting reconciliation as an alternative to hatred and revenge.
Abu Sarah is the chairman of the Parents Circle Families Forum and a co-host of Radio All for Peace. When he was 10 years old, his older brother was imprisoned for 11 months for throwing rocks at Israeli cars and died from abuse suffered in prison shortly after being released.
Yaffe, a former high school teacher for 25 years, lost her oldest son, Ronen, after he was killed in battle on the border with Lebanon in 1983.
Abu Sara and Yaffe reach out to young people in Israeli and Palestinian high schools, youth movements and community groups. By describing their personal losses and their unwillingness to avenge, they encourage the students to begin to transform their feelings of suspicion and fear toward the other side.
The institute, a New York-based nonprofit organization founded in 1919, created the prize with an endowment from Goldberg, an Executive Committee member and former vice chairman.