Wendy Gladney (File photo)

Our world is going through turbulent times, but for those who read and study the Bible, this is not surprising.  Matthew 24: 6-8 says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.”

Countries have been fighting each other since the beginning of time for territories and power.  The unrest we are experiencing between Israel and Palestine has been an ongoing saga. However, on Oct. 7, the militant group Hamas ignited the situation we are all watching in real-time. The problem with war is innocent people become victims and casualties of war.

Hamas militants from Gaza fired thousands of rockets toward Israeli towns before breaking through the heavily fortified border fence with Israel and sending militants deep into Israeli territory. For the record, not all Palestinians agree with what Hamas has done.

No matter the situation, Israel may be small, but they are mighty, and they have friends across the globe. They will do whatever they need to do to protect their people and their land, especially when enemies encroach on their space.

On May 14, 1948, the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed a new state of Israel. This happened approximately three years after the end of the Holocaust. Israel will not allow the destruction of the Jewish people ever again.  Many even believe they are a chosen people and therefore, many people, governments, and countries are standing with Israel through this crisis.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles plans Community Leadership Study Trips to Israel from time to time and in 2015, I was one of the individuals selected.  Approximately 12 of us set out on May 3, 2015, from Los Angeles to Israel and the Middle East.

As a Christian, ascending onto Jerusalem through the Judean Hills was a site to behold. On our first night, a dinner was held to welcome us to the Middle East where Judaism, Muslims, and Christians all have roots going back to the beginning of time. We had the opportunity to visit several historical places during our time in the Middle East.

Our stops included, but were not limited to, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem complex, the Western Wall, the Dead Sea, Masada, Tel Aviv, and we also toured Kibbutz Nachal Oz and met with some of the local residents who lived close to the border of the Gaza Strip. Sderot, a city less than a mile from Gaza and often the target of rockets from Gaza, was also part of our destinations.

Our group also partook in a discussion of the Palestinian perspectives on trauma and resilience with Dr. Khalil Abu Al Foul of the Al Quds Hospital in Gaza, Dr. Fathi Fleifel and Dr. Wael Qadan of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. We also met with Palestinian Liberation Organization spokesperson and negotiator Xavier Abu Eid at their headquarters.

We also held a Healing and Reconciliation discussion with Dr. Tal Becker, deputy legal advisor of the Israel Foreign Ministry, a member of the Israeli negotiating team, and Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute. We addressed intergenerational trauma with Johanna Gottesfeld of Amcha, the Israeli Center for Holocaust Survivors and their Families.

Our visit to Israel and the Middle East was to bring hope and healing. What is interesting is some of the same things we discussed and worked on then are still on the table today.  We must find a way to bring peace to the land or we will continue to have many more casualties of war.


Healing Without Hate: It’s a choice. It’s a lifestyle. Pass it on.


Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.