Together Beyond WordsEmpowering Women and Promoting Peace

Staying Together in Times of War

When we find ourselves in times of trouble...

Dear friends,

Last week my daughter Shir had a performance with a theatre group she has been part of over the last two years. It was at night and about an hour away from my house in Northern Israel.  As I prepared to drive over I began feeling fear. I tried to think of which would be the safest Arab village to drive through with the least possibility of being kidnapped…. I have never had these thoughts before here in the Galilee and neither has Noa who works with me. But last night she dreamed she was kidnapped on her way to work in Nazareth.
My son was hitchhiking the other day and called me from his ride. My first question was: ''Is the person driving the car a Jew… ? ''

What is happening to us…?

Leila who is Muslim and lives in the Southern Bedouin town of Rahat is not going to the nearby city because she is religious and is afraid Jews in Beer Sheva will curse her, take off her head covering and call out: Death to the Arabs. She is so terrified of the constant bombing over her house that she has trouble sleeping  at night and screams whenever there's a siren scaring her children even more. They sit and wait outside the bathroom when she showers because they are afraid to be alone. Her heart aches when she sees on TV the death and suffering in Gaza. She just wants it all to end. 

Last night bombs fell near my home in the Galilee from Lebanon and that means that from North to South there is no longer any safe area in Israel.

And yet throughout this crazy, scary time our Arab/Jewish groups are staying connected through phone calls and WHATS APP, crying and feeling our fears together….

Here is a conversation between Ahmad who is a Muslim dentist from Beer Sheva in the South and Gal who is a Jewish engineer from Northern Israel. I read it in our WHATS APP group the other day:
Ahmad– ''Despite all my anger about the murder of my people in Gaza, I am now thinking about the bomb that fell near the house of my assistant (Jewish) and damaged her home.  I looked inside and found a space in my heart where I could reach out to her and invite her to my own home to stay with us…  With all this pain and anger, I am trying to hold on to my humanity…
Gal (Jewish) –It is very hard for me to express what is inside me now because I feel so shaky, scared and angry and confused. I know you (the people in the group) are very dear to me and am doing my best to keep my heart open and not become an extremist. I know that the pain each of you is expressing is real and I thank you for everything you are sharing…. Please know our home is open to all those who would like to come and be in a reality that is a bit saner than what is going on in the South. There is even a Mosque nearby for those who want to pray during the Ramadan.
Ahmed – Thank you Gal. I guess the work we have been doing over the past year is helping us now so that even in these difficult moments we are staying connected to our ability to love. Perhaps we can give some light to the blind majority in Israel and Gaza…
Gal – Ahmed I am in a supermarket shopping for food so I feel uncomfortable to start crying now …''

In the midst of the violence, the suffering, the lies,  the manipulations, the anger and the fear, when I imagine a Jewish man reading the words of an Arab man in the middle of a supermarket and wanting to cry because he is so moved…I too want to cry… and I feel hope…

Nitsan Joy,

Director of Together Beyond Words Org.