WCS-018: Robi Damelin is turning tragedy into reconciliation for bereaved families in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

RobiDamelinRobi Damelin’s son was killed by a Palestinian sniper. Her response? “You may not take revenge in the name of my son.” Download this interview to hear the intimate story of her journey through grief and forgiveness, and as a teacher of reconciliation with the Parents Circle – Families Forum.

About Robi Damelin:

Robi Damelin grew up in South Africa and resisted apartheid before moving to Israel and raising a family. Her son David, a peace activist and a member of the IDF reserves, was killed by a Palestinian sniper. Since then, she has dedicated her time and talent to ending the violence and to creating a collaborative, formal truth and reconciliation process that will be ready for rollout when a political peace agreement is reached. Her efforts have been the subject of several documentaries, including One Day After Peace www.onedayafterpeace.com, which chronicles her quest to meet with her son’s killer and her travels to South Africa to learn from the truth and reconciliation process adopted there. Robi currently serves as a spokesperson for The Parents Circle – Family Forum, an organization for bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families working towards reconciliation.

Personal Quote:
“Forgiving is giving up your just right to revenge.”

One of her greatest challenges:

“You cannot let the situation affect who you are. You must affect the situation. This isn’t a job. It’s is a mission.”

When she knows the work she is doing is making a difference:

Robi describes some of the projects she worked on, The Presence of the Void Photo Exhibit, and Jam Session, and how they changed the lives of the women involved.

Personal Practice That Keeps her Going on the Tough Days

“It’s very grounding to go bowling with your grandchildren.”

“This absolute burning drive inside, knowing that we have to change what’s happening here, that we cannot go on killing each other.”

Practical Advice:

“You need to make a framework. You can’t do it by yourself.”

“If somebody says ‘no’, there will always be somebody who says yes.”

Best strategies for funding:

Government funding is available if you look for it. You need somebody who is good at writing proposals.

Tools or Technology:


Targeted Facebook pages for specific projects as well as websites

Recommended books and films:

Film: One Day After Peace

Film: A Two-Sided Story

Film: We Don’t Want You Here

The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources by Lynne Twist

Nomination for Upcoming World Changer Sessions Guest:

Basam Aramin, Public Relations for The Parents Circle Palestinian Office

How to get in touch:

Websites:  www.theparentscircle.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ParentsCircleFamiliesForum