Out of the Box Peacemaking
By Amir Paiss
Posted July 6, 2019
Right before the Gaza war, after the three Israeli teenagers Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were kidnapped and murdered and after Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and murdered in revenge, there were riots all over Israel. I was coming back with my wife and our two little children from the Galilee to Jerusalem, in a bus full of Hasidic Jews when, at around 2 am, our bus stopped at a stop light and we were attacked by angry Arab men, throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks onto and into the bus… People scream in terror, windows shatter…
Miraculously we managed to escape without severe physical harm. The next morning I was told by many – ‘Now you experienced first hand the hate, and now you know that the right response is revenge!’ ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘you’re right, we have to have revenge!’
That morning I had already been planning to meet with Haj Ibrahim Abu El Hawa and Raed Hashima who is the East Jerusalem coordinator for Jerusalem Peacemakers and the Abrahamic Reunion. I was very shaken up, but we met anyway and worked hard to prepare an interfaith gathering to be held two weeks later in Nazareth, at the home of Sufi Sheikh, Ghassan Manasra.
Sure enough, we had a very powerful event, with Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Israelis, and Palestinians, praying side by side and supporting one another. We then had a walk of love, holding hands and walking through the streets that witnessed a riot a day earlier. At the end of the evening I shared my experience with everyone, and how some of my friends told me that my best response has to be revenge… well, this powerful gathering, when we come together in connection and harmony, demonstrating what can be, in the midst of war and violence, is the best revenge. The revenge of Love! More…