The ninth “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision” tour will begin on Monday, March 28 with a live interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” at 9:00 am EST.

The ninth “Jerusalem Women Speak: Three Women, Three Faiths, One Shared Vision” tour will begin on Monday, March 28 with a live interview on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” at 9:00 am EST. 

This spring’s speakers are Diana Kattan, Nina Mayorek, and Aitemad Muhanna.

The tour is focused on the Washington, DC area, Sarasota, FL, and the Midwest.  The
schedule of public events can be accessed at http://www.partnersforpeace.org under “Latest News” (with updates, particularly for Twin Cities). 

SPEAKERS’ BIOS:

DIANA KATTAN
Christian Palestinian Participant

A Christian Palestinian, Ms. Kattan lives in East Jerusalem and holds an MA in English Literature from Hebrew University. 

During the 1948 war, Ms. Kattan’s family took refuge in a church as the family home in West Jerusalem was seized.  In a highly unusual process, Ms. Kattan’s grandfather slowly was able to buy back his own home.

Today, however, Ms. Kattan lives in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.  After a two-week trip in 2004 she returned at 3:00 am to find the separation wall looming directly opposite her home. She is now cut off from friends and family by the barrier which wends its way through the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem.

Ms. Kattan is the Centre Director for the Martin Luther Community Development Centre, which offers educational, vocational, and recreational programs. She is also active with the Sabeel Ecumenical Centre for Liberation Theology. 

She writes, “Having been born in the west side of Jerusalem and yet working and living in the east side, I strongly believe in the importance of a just and enduring peace for Jerusalem.  It should be a city for two nations and three religions.”


DR. NINA MAYOREK
Jewish Israeli Participant

A Jewish Israeli, Dr. Mayorek is Senior Biochemist in the Department of Human Nutrition and Metabolism at the Hebrew University.  She and her husband moved to Israel in 1968 to escape the anti-Semitism of the Polish government of that time to which her parents lost their academic positions.  Earlier, her aunt and grandmother perished in Treblinka during the Holocaust and her grandfather died in one of Stalin’s concentration camps.

She lives in West Jerusalem and is a member of the Israeli women’s human rights organization Checkpoint Watch, which participates in weekly observations at checkpoints in the West Bank.  She usually monitors checkpoints around Nablus.

While Dr. Mayorek has pursued a research interest in diabetes, she has also steadily promoted better understanding between Israelis and Palestinians.  From 1996-1998 she was the coordinator of Israeli volunteers at a Palestinian school in El-Khader. Later she was a lecturer on Women and Family Health at the Ibda Community Center in Bethlehem’s Deheisheh refugee camp. 

She is here in the United States to “persuade public opinion that the ongoing policy of Israeli colonization and supremacy in the West Bank is devastating for both Palestinians and Israelis.”


AITEMAD MUHANNA
Muslim Palestinian Participant

A Muslim Palestinian, Ms. Muhanna is the first tour participant from the Gaza Strip.  She grew up in the Shati refugee camp after her family fled the village of Masmeia, now in Israel, in 1948.  She has just begun a PhD program in Development Studies at Swansea University.

Educated in UN schools, Ms. Muhanna is now a development professional with over 10 years of experience in gender and participatory approaches to development issues.  She is a strong advocate for women’s rights, having worked to lessen domestic violence in Gaza and to establish both a women’s micro-credit coalition and a coalition to eradicate poverty in Gaza.

Ms. Muhanna is troubled that much of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is viewed as a religious
struggle pitting Muslims against Jews.  She has been engaged in the Palestinian national struggle for 20 years and hopes to build a future in which a Palestinian state and an Israeli state work together on the basis of equal rights and cultural diversity and without religious discrimination.   

She notes, “I believe that the Palestinian and Israeli people have to live as two equal nations cooperating together rather than fighting against each other.”