Givataim, Israel- September 20, 2011- The world is again riveted by the current developments revolving around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We know that all these have been going on for generations. Our opinions are largely the result of what we see on TV or what we read in the paper. The story below is an insider’s view, as told by David Weitzman, a reputable cosmic jewelry designer from Israel.
Once in a while, David’s friends from all over the world would express their concern about the things that are happening in Israel. Some of them come from places struggling with their own political, social or economic conflicts and they identify with what they think David’s “situation” must be.
David believes that if the people were to interact and communicate freely and directly, the conflict would have been resolved long ago. There still would have been disagreements, but they would not have turned violent. Mutual respect, especially in the Middle East, is the key to peace, friendship and mutual trust. David’s personal experience, in his own words, illustrates this point more than anything:
“A few years ago, I accompanied a British tourist to Jerusalem. He was a Christian so I took him to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City. After the visit to the church he wanted to withdraw cash from one of the banks, but was unable to because of some technical problems. It was a Friday and he was told he would have to wait 24 hours before he could withdraw the money. He was in a bind because he needed $1000 for his return flight on Saturday evening, after the Sabbath. We had a problem. All I could think of doing was to call the man who arranged for me to accompany the tourist, hoping he could help. He reminded me that I could always turn to Ibrahim.
Ibrahim was a Muslim Arab from East Jerusalem whom I met for the first time a while back when he was hosting a group of Jewish Israelis. I was a bit surprised but he explained that since he is named after he who is considered the father of the Semite religions, he considers everyone as his sons and welcomes into his home anyone who seeks peace.
So I phoned Ibrahim and twenty minutes later we met with him. I explained to him the situation and in a matter of seconds he pulled out a wad of bills and started to count them off. I observed this and I continued in Hebrew, “Listen Ibrahim, I really appreciate and respect your good intentions but I don’t know this tourist and I truly hope that he will return the money.” He answered, “Don’t worry, it will be all right. I trust him”.
So there the three of us stood in the center of Jerusalem, a skeptical Jewish tourist guide (me), the Arab Palestinian Muslim and the Christian guest who needed help. Ibrahim handed him the money, and after we thanked him and exchanged telephone numbers, we went our separate ways, the tourist to his hotel and I to Tel Aviv. On Sunday I called Ibrahim to check if the loan was returned. “Of course”, he replied, “you didn’t need to worry”.
The world should recognize the need for honest and direct communication between peoples and nations, removed from politics and the impressions of the media that is always looking for the violence and blood to excite us all.
David Weitzman is the force behind KA Gold Jewelry. Behind the sacred symbols in David’s jewels is the knowledge that enables each and every one of us, regardless of race or religion, to free ourselves from chaos, fear and hatred.
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