The exhibition “Women and Their Olive Trees” was inaugurated at the United Nations in Geneva on March 15, 2016. “Trait d’Union” – the French title of the exhibition – is composed of 35 paintings of olive trees drawn by women from every cultural and religious background of Israeli society – Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Circassian – Israeli women sharing their stories and hope for a brighter future. For Daniel Benn, Director of WIZO Community Center of Afula, this project “proves that we can sustain a society where everyone is respected, appreciated, loved. A society where everyone can realize its role in the community.”
“It was important to me to make a connection though art and paintings and to find women artists who wanted to have open dialogue, to connect and to learn from each other.” This is the message of coexistence that Mrs. Sheila Dvor Casdi wanted to carry through the exhibition “Women and Their Olive Trees”, initiated by her in the Israeli city of Afula, and inaugurated as a UNOG Cultural Event at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday 15 March with the support of the Permanent Mission of Israel, and the collaboration of WIZO Switzerland.
The opening, attended by 130 women, men, diplomats, art lovers and NGO representatives, was also the opportunity to highlight the importance of women empowerment, just a week after marking International Day for Women’s Rights. The exhibit will be on display until March 31.
Ambassador Eviatar Manor, Permanent Representative of Israel to the UN in Geneva, spoke at the event, saying: “It is an artistic expression which exposes the rich diversity composing Israeli society, and carries a strong message of hope. Olive trees and women are both symbolic and essential to Peace, prosperity and social justice. For me, olive trees have three important characteristics. First, the olive is one of the seven species the Holy land is blessed with, according to the Bible. Second, it is a common heritage of all the peoples and geographical regions of the Mediterranean Basin. Thirdly, it is the symbol of peace, which we hope to enjoy in our corner of the world sooner rather than later.”
Women and Their Olive Trees
Copyright: Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, Geneva
Ambassador Manor noted that while much remains to be done to ensure full enjoyment of equal rights, “To me, women empowerment is not a slogan. It is an essential component of peace. Women in the workforce will contribute to economic growth, demographic revolutions will contribute to prosperity and development, and education will unchain the shackles imposed by religion and male dominance in our region.” Francesco Pisano, Chair of the UNOG Cultural Activities Committee, added: “In many instances, women hold the key to conflict transformation and peace making.”