by Sara Kreimer, May 5, 2014
The next day, Lisa Fliegel, the relentlessly energetic journalist-organizer the Center had hired to coordinate our planned Middle East textile conference, bounced into the office with an idea. “Let’s put on our textile conference for Palestinians, Israelis, Egyptians and Jordanians!” proposed Lisa. “We’ll make history: we’ll be the first Israelis ever to host a Jordanian business delegation to Israel.”
Over the following months, Lisa had enlisted every leading businessman and woman related to the field of textiles and fashion in Israel to be involved in the Center’s Middle East extravaganza, “Weaving Peace.” Dan Catarivas, head of the new Middle East Department of the Israeli Ministry of Industry, was pulled into the vortex, bringing with him other key government officials. Egyptian textile companies we had met in Cairo at a European/Mid-East conference agreed to come; Lisa’s contacts in Jordan came through with the Al Hayat International Trading Company, run by a Palestinian entrepreneur living in Jordan, Mohammed Atiyeh, who worked with a woman business consultant, Ola el-Masri, to put together a delegation of the ten leading textile manufacturers in the country.
Our Palestinian colleagues, Abdel Fatah Darwish and Saeb Bamya, had organized an impressive Palestinian delegation from both the West Bank and Gaza, when Lisa came out with her next whopper. “Let’s have a fashion show! You know, with models and music and a runway, and they’ll show the latest designs from each country. It’ll get great publicity; it will make the conference an ‘item.’”