Palestine Update 236
May the peace of the Risen Christ touch our hearts and our lives in a special way. May that peace flow into our fragile world bringing healing and hope
Yusef Daher, my friend, and long time co-worker shared a powerful story on Facebook of an encounter he had with a retired Israeli Army person. The outcome of that meeting and the barter of thoughts provide some challenging feelings. But even more powerful was the encounter that his lovely young daughter experienced when two Jewish soldiers saw her marching with her Scouts group. Yusef’s reflections are best expressed in his queries to himself and his deepest expressions of hope. It is very pertinent this Ester season. We reproduce his message and urge you to share it widely.
The fundamental message of Easter is not just that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Jesus’s resurrection outlasts every other historical endeavor. So, one day, this world of pain and injustice will be restored by Jesus’s Reign. The most significant part about that era is that we shall see God’s justice take the place of oppression and error. The captive shall be set free. The stranger shall find shelter and be liberated. Political systems and structures that push people to the margins and enslave them will be transformed into ones that are inclusive and classless.
Easter is a call to community that defies the death-dealing forces of torture and crucifixion and liberates us all from the constraints of discrimination and prejudice. The empty tomb signifies that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and, therefore, our battered lives and societies have a chance to experience a new possibility and move on a renewed track. We are asked never to surrender faith and optimism. ‘Don’t give up God is faithful’.
Easter/Pessah- Spirit of new hope?!!
By Yusef Daher*
Yusef Daher with his daughter Zeina
In a small Israeli village, midway between Tulkarem and Nethanya, I met this Israeli retired chef when I drove a British friend to his home. After few introductions he asked me: Do you vote?! I said I am not voting because I am a Jerusalemite. I am not a citizen of Israel. His immediate reaction was: “don’t worry, soon all people in Samaria (West Bank) will be citizens and can have equal votes”!!! They he moved to another subject and another just to show me that our differences are non-sense, bring political or even religious!!!
The day before, my little girl Zeina (9 years), came to us with another story. She started telling her mother the story as we were approaching home coming back from Palm Sunday procession and Parade. I missed the full story since I was parking the car when she continued the story. Inside, Zeina came back to me saying you have to hear this; “while I was marching within my scouts group, two Jewish soldiers were watching me. They looked at me somehow in a different unusual way. Then one of them said something like “yafa”. (Yafa means good looking in Hebrew). One of them then opened her hand to me and I clapped her’s” (in a high five like)
This is nice Habibti, I said. Then she said: I think this time, even the police behaved better during the parade, and they did us no harm this time.
While driving back from that village Kfar Yona, I was thinking: Is it possible that Israel and Israelis would see us as equally beautiful?! And that our rights to self determination should be the same?!Is it possible that at the instant Israel feels it has won it all, it would surrender its exclusivity and drop its claim of superiority against the other?
Is it possible that our dream in living together as equals on this land can come sooner that we anticipate or without so much more years of struggle towards gaining our rights?!
I hope I am right
I hope it is a new Easter/Pessah spirit
This I wish.
And to you all Joyful Easter and Passover
*Yusef Daher is Executive Secretary of the Jerusalem Inter-Church Center (JIC) of the Heads of Churches of Jerusalem which works in association with the World Council of Churches and the Middle East Council of Churches. Yusef is one of the authors of the Kairos Palestine Document “Moment of Truth” – word of faith hope and love from the midst of the Palestinian Suffering.