A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing.
As we enter a new year, and another decade, that is set ot be marked by the intrusion of terror into all our lives, it is good to see there can be hope. Young Marya (she's is Palestinian, from Gaza, paralysed by an Israeli missile) and Orel (he is an Israeli Jew, from Beersheba and, and survived a major brain injury from an Hamas rocket attack) have been drawn together in the most unlikely of ways, but so have their families:
In a way, a friendship between two wounded children from opposing backgrounds is not that surprising. Neither understands the prolonged fight over land and identity that so divides people here. They are kids. They play.
But for those who have spent time in their presence at Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, it is almost more powerful to observe their parents, who do understand. They have developed a kinship that defies national struggle.
“The wounds of our children, their pain, our pain, have connected us,” noted Angela Elizarov, Orel’s mother, one recent day as she sat on a bed in the room she shares with her son. Next door is Marya, her 6-year-old brother, Momen, and their father, Hamdi Aman. “Does it matter that he is from Gaza and I am from Beersheba, that he is an Arab and I am a Jew? It has no meaning to me. He sees my child and I see his child.”Marya's father lost many of his family in the attack that wounded her. He us often asked by religious Jewish volunteers at the hospital how he can live among the people whose army destroyed his family. His answer is clear:
“I was raised as a complete Zionist rightist,” he said. “The Arabs, we were told, were out to kill us. But I was living in some fantasy. Here in the hospital, all my friends are Arabs.” Ms. Elizarov, Orel’s mother, noted that in places like Alyn Hospital, political tensions do not exist. Then she said, “Do we need to suffer in order to learn that there is no difference between Jews and Arabs?”I am challenged to get closer to those who suffer, to hear their story, and let it challenge my deepest preconceptions in this new year.