Shalom Achshav (Peace Now)
Israel’s preeminent peace movement, Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), was established in 1978, when 348 Israeli senior reserve army officers and combat soldiers came together to urge their government to sign a peace treaty with Egypt. They knew then what remains true today: Real security for Israel can only be achieved through peace. In the years since its establishment, Shalom Achshav has worked for the achievement of peace agreements between Israel and all her Arab neighbors, and has come to be recognized, both in Israel and abroad, as Israel’s leading grassroots Zionist pro-peace movement.
With a small staff and a small budget, Peace Now runs several important programs to advance peace and democracy and to help keep the door open for a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
The flagship of Peace Now’s programs, Settlement Watch project collects, analyzes and publicizes information on the Israeli government’s role in the construction of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, the greatest physical roadblock to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition to analytical reports and news alerts, Settlement Watch takes policymakers and policy-shapers — including Israeli and international politicians, diplomats and journalists — on tours of the settlements. It also proactively fights settlement construction by taking the government and the settlers to court — and winning.
Hazon Peace Academy
Peace Now’s newest program, Hazon (Vision), brings together young Israelis interested in pursuing a career in public life to teach them about the conflict and to provide them with skills necessary to become effective spokespeople in support of peace. With this program, Peace Now is training a new generation to influence the public discourse on this issue in Israel and beyond. The first class, some forty future leaders, graduated in June 2017 after three months of intensive workshops, lectures and tours. The program is managed by a dedicated new staff member and directed by a steering committee comprised of some of Israel’s leading experts in the field.
Grassroots Outreach, Mobilization and Recruitment
Peace Now’s new executive director Avi Buskila and his staff have been crisscrossing the country in the past year, meeting with thousands of Israelis to bring Peace Now’s message to their community centers and living rooms, and to encourage them to join the movement. Polls show that most Israelis support a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The challenge is to get the silent majority to care about peace and act upon it. In more than ninety meetings all over Israel, Avi and his team succeeded in recruiting hundreds of volunteers and thousands of activists, laying down a broad network that reaches deep into Israel’s geographic periphery, much beyond their offices in Tel Aviv.
Back to the Public Square
Known for organizing some of the largest demonstrations in Israel’s history, Peace Now is returning to the street with a series of demonstrations and vigils to protest the status quo and demand diplomatic action toward peace. Peace Now’s “Two States One Hope” rally on May 27th was a big success. Tens of thousands turned out. Thousands of new members signed up, and media coverage exceeded all expectations.
Americans for Peace Now:
- Mobilizes activists around the country to impact U.S. policy.
- Delivers a pro-peace, pro-Israel message to policy makers in Washington through its renowned Government Relations program.
- Presents the media with reliable information and clearly articulated opinions.
- Uses innovative technology to reach new audiences. Our groundbreaking settlements map app, newly updated for iPhone and Android, brings transparency to the settlements debate.
- Dispatches speakers to campuses and congregations around the country.
- Provides financial support for the programs of Peace Now in Israel.
Shalom Achshav (in Israel):
- Tracks and reports on settlements in the West Bank. (The New York Times has written that Peace Now “has a record of careful and accurate reporting on settlement growth.”)
- Files legal petitions to stop settlement expansion that violates Israeli law.
- Rallies Israelis to speak out in support of peace.
- Reaches out to young Israelis in order to educate and empower them to act on issues related to peace.