Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In the Tent of Sarah and Hagar

I know where I'm most comfortable and that is being a nowhere woman.  I don't feel comfortable in anti-Arab right wing political groups and I don't feel comfortable in anti-occupation left wing groups.  I don't feel comfortable in anything that smacks of "anti".  I'm anti anti. So whenever an opportunity arises for an event that brings people together without the anger and the politics, I'm usually there.

Yesterday I travelled with the Jerusalem Peacemakers to Fareidis, an Arab village across from the picturesque Jewish town of Zichron Yaakov.  I saw on the Facebook event  that only 5 people responded and thought - well, won't this be an intimate gathering.  I left work 1/2 hour early and there were about 5 or 6 people on the bus.  I'm like - okay, let's go then.  But after 10 minutes the bus filled up with Orthodox and secular Jews, Arabs from Hebron and Beit Ummar - some who brought their families, and Christian sponsors with their families.  People I didn't think knew about this event, knew about this event and I was so happy to see them.  On the way, I spoke with Taleb, my "brother" from Idna, near Hebron.  He was so excited about the past weekend he spent with 25 Israeli and 25 Palestinian teachers, all wanting to take the "hate" and the non-recognition of the other, out of their curriculums.  That put me in a good mood, despite stopping at the "express" coffee shop at the rest stop where they robbed me of my hard earned money by charging me a fortune for a small bottle of water and a tiny square of nash.

We went up the mountain to Ibtisam's home where the view was spectacular and the air heavy with light humidity, us mountain people living in Jerusalem and Hebron are not used to any humidity.  There were dozens more people who met us there so our numbers swelled to about 80 people. The speeches made by Rabbis, Imams, Sheikhs and Pastors were uplifting and they blessed the newly coronated Tent of Sarah and Hagar, where I heard that since the Jewish temples were destroyed by baseless hatred, here we will have baseless love.  We will love just for the sake of loving.  And that the there is an illusion in our country that we are not one family, when in fact, the Children of Abraham - Arabs and Jews in particular - are indeed one family.  And laughing together, talking together, eating together, sweating together and making new friends -  I definitely felt it that night.

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