"If you know more about each other, you're less likely to be afraid... you're less likely to fight."

I stumbled upon Heartbeat.fm when searching for a way to support a positive, peaceful force in/around Gaza. Like everyone else, I feel hopeless. But music WILL ALWAYS give me hope. So, today I am featuring Heartbeat Jerusalem, an organization of young Israelis and Palestinians who come together to make music, write songs, argue, hold hands, share stories and better understand each other through song and conversation. Harmony. 
In their words:

Heartbeat’s core program focuses on the establishment and facilitation of ensembles of young Arab and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli musicians (ages 14-24 years old) who come together weekly for sustained music based dialogue programs in HaifaJerusalem, and Jaffa – Tel Aviv. During these weekly sessions, Heartbeat youth explore each other’s cultures and narratives in safe, politically neutral settings that support creativity and communication. Developing skills in improvisation, song-writing, performance technique, music theory, communication, and leadership while engaging in dialogue about their daily lives and the conflict that surrounds them, participants raise their critical consciousness, and harness their agency to change the status quo in and between their communities.

From Heartbeat's FB page:

Hello, My name is Rasha. I'm 18. 

I'm a high school student, and I often play music.

I'm an arab-palestinian living in Israel. 

I was born into the conflict, into one of the most vicious conflicts of the 21st century. 
This had occupied an integral part of my identity.
As time goes by, people continue to lose hope for peace.
Blind hatred and violence however, continue to increase while they're hiding behind censored news and stereotyping.

I believe in the power of words the power of music and the power of stage. It can reach anyone, it can make you think, hesitate and ask for a second. It can make you look at the reality you live from a different perspective. It can break these walls surrounding us physically and mentally. it simply provides hope and inner satisfaction.

Today, after a long period of hesitations and frustrations, of ignoring and facing, of reading and asking.. I've reached a point where i'm sick of hating. Blaming. and Hiding. Life in this cursed "Holy Land" is much more than this illusional life we are all living somehow. Life here is simply wrong. Human beings are being killed, Villages and families are being destroyed. and we are brainwashed to believe that the only solution for this situation is war. that people on the other side aren't really people. they're monster enemies.

I wish we will be able to see the full picture.. To see the enemy as a human being. And liberate ourselves from these barriers that we were born into, break these walls and 'start growing peaceful generations in this hopeless town' while taking the first step into the vision we all want to live.

Hope you enjoy the video... 

And this, also from Heartbeat's FB page: 

People do not see, people do not think, people love war, it gives them a reason for living, it gives them money, it gives them a sense of belonging, things happen like a wheel, dead people here, dead people there, real people, with family friends with desires with aspirations, and why? For principles? For land? For respect? I do not believe that there is any principle important enough to justify taking a boy's life — not Jewish, not Arab, not Korean, not German. I hear a lot of very extreme statements in recent days, statements that were waiting for the right moment to get out:”Death to Arabs" and "throw them into the sea”. I feel like there is nothing I will do or say that will change this situation, that it will change what those people did to those poor children from Gush Etzion or the lynching that happened yesterday in Jerusalem, the same people, the same anger, the same land. I wish things will change. I wish people would understand that we tried this method, so many times, the method of war, eye for an eye, it does not work! Fact! No, what works is sending lots of love to all those who need it now. And to all the children who say now that beyond the wall there are monsters, there are no monsters. There are children, some of them have guns, some have a teddy bear, some have a guitar, some have a bus. They’re all children. Let's enjoy this life as children.

- Dekel, 20, bassist

If you would like to donate to HEARTBEAT, you can do so here.  You can also donate, here for specific items and get involved by way of amplification/endorsement and/or volunteer work, here.