Coming Up, April 2020: Bearing Witness to Complexity in the Holy Land Retreat

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL. We encourage our members to inspire and carry forward the mission of Zen Peacemakers throughout the world by creating their own bearing witness events in the spirit of the Three Tenets- Not Knowing, Bearing Witness & Taking Action. This Bearing Witness Retreat is as such, a Members-led event. While it is not organized by ZPI, it is affiliated with it. The week-long retreat is facilitated by a team of Palestinian, Israeli, European and American activists and long time Zen Peacemakers members and leaders. Click here to read more about other members-led programs.

Every year the Holocaust day in Israel is commemorated with a siren, heard all across the country. 70+ years past and the nation is mourning, memorializing and reflecting. The Holocaust memorial-day is always the first event initiating the full cyclical narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Exactly a week later, Israel commemorates the Memorial of the soldiers that were killed in the different wars immediately followed by the Israeli Independence day. Like in a mirror, this of course ignites the beginning of the Palestinian tragedy resembled in the Nakba day and the on-going struggle against the occupation and towards an independent state. 

Following this narrative, the retreat will start with attending the joint Israeli-Palestinian “Alternative Memorial Ceremony” acknowledging the suffering from both sides and will continue with bearing witness to complexity in which Life and Death, Joy and Suffering, Hope and Fear, Compassion and Aggression, Independence and Victimhood, Religions and Walls – all blend together. 

While bearing witness to this complexity, we can derive our hope for a better future based on the co-existence of these two peoples during previous centuries, and acknowledging the closeness of their religions, cultures and languages.

April 2019 Israel and Palestine ‘plunge’

About The Retreat:

The retreat is part of the Bearing Witness retreat movement around the world, where people come together across differences in the mind of Not Knowing, to Bear Witness and let compassionate action arise. 

The retreat is an affiliate of ZPI and based on a plunge taken by the international leadership team of the Southern European Circle in April 2018.

Dates: April 27th- May 2nd, 2020

Location: The retreat will be based in the Jerusalem area with plunges taken to bear witness to different voices and sites in the holy land.

Leading circle: Israeli, Palestinian, internationals…including Iris Dotan Katz, Tani Katz, Barbara Wegmueller, Roland Wegmueller, Sami Awad, Rami Efal.

April 2019 Israel and Palestine ‘plunge’

More detailed information to be following soon – To express your basic interest please write to

Iris Dotan Katz is an Israeli clinical psychologist, a Buddhist practitioner, a peace activist and organizer working in Palestine, Israel and Sri Lanka, often with her social innovator partner Tani Katz. She has participated in the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreats in Rwanda, Black Hills and repeatedly at Auschwitz. Iris is one of the co-organizers of the 2017 Bosnia Bearing Witness Retreat.

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Coming Up, April 2020: Bearing Witness to Complexity in the Holy Land Retreat

4 Responses

  1. @Gerard Jones I didn’t side step, I explained how it applies to you and
    not to atheists. Your failure to understand this is the reason why I implied you can’t read.You are an athiest with respect to all gods but the
    one you believe in, this is because theistic claims have a burden of
    proof. Failure to believe nonsense does not have a burden of proof.Why do I bother talking to the religious, they are just stupid, ignorant, and irrational.

  2. Re: Complexity in the Holy Land retreat, which draws me though probably for another year, I noticed that the group planning this in 2018 referred to Palestinians in Israel as “Arab Israelis”. I hope that they are not referred to as such in this retreat. That would be privileging the Israeli narrative which often denies that there is any such things as Palestinians. The fair approach in my view would be to allow each group to define themselves and how they wish to be referred to. That means starting the dialogue with a level playing field. I expect that Palestinians would refer to themselves as Palestinian Israeli citizens and not Arab Israelis.

    To me this is a crucial point as generally the dominant group always gets to define the terms of engagement. For example, whenever there have been so called “peace talks” in the past, the dominant group always got to call the shots and then blame the “other” for not agreeing to their terms. And be aided and abetted by the United States…….

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