One of the most moving and powerful groups working to promote understanding and compromise between Israelis and Palestinians is Parent’s Circle. The power of its message lies in the special and excruciating suffering experienced by its members. PC is composed of parent’s whose children have been murdered in the conflict. There are Palestinian parents of suicide bombers. There are Israeli parents of soldiers killed in those same bombings.
The group was founded by Yitzchak Frankenthal whose son was kidnapped and murdered by Palestinians while serving in the IDF. Unlike the vast majority of both Palestinian and Israeli parents in such a situation, Frankenthal tried not to collapse into bitter recrimination toward the Palestinian "enemy." Instead, he wondered a very brave thought: "Are there perhaps Palestinian parents like me who feel that our children’s death should not be in vain. That our children can serve some purpose in bringing both people’s closer instead of farther apart?"
I was pleased to read in this week’s JTNews (Seattle) that Seattle filmmakers Ellen Frick and Gretchen Berger have made a documentary, Another Side of Peace, about Parent’s Circle. They traveled to Israel and the West Bank to meet with Israelis like Roni Herschenson who lost TWO sons, one killed during IDF service and another who committed suicide because he could not bear the death of his brother.
I was terribly disheartened to read this statement in the article:
Frick and Burger received no funding from the Jewish community for this
film and were turned down for two years in a row by the Jewish
Documentary Film Fund.
I am not surprised to hear that. But I’m disappointed. Apparently, the idea behind Parent’s Circle is somehow viewed as so odd, so different, perhaps so radical that it cannot be comprehended. And that’s too bad.
If you live in Seattle, turn to KCTS (Channel 9) on May 19th at 10 PM or May 23rd at 2 AM and watch Another Side of Peace. If you live in Toronto, you can view it on May 15th at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. If you live elsewhere, contact your local PBS station and ask them to air it. If you want to watch the film at your own discretion, you may purchase the video at the KCTS website.