They say there are eight million stories in the naked city. This is one of them.
Homage to a late 1950’s TV series paid, feel free to replace the word naked with holy. It’s about the story anyway, not the city itself. Well, not the stone and bricks and mortar. It’s about people.
Recently I met a young man who came to Jerusalem in search of someone to help his mother who was very sick. He came with her from Jenin. Only 77.7 kilometers separate the two places. Like others I’ve seen, I have seen the look on his face before. . Someone unsure of what to expect from Israelis. I’ve seen that look from people who come here for help from Egypt and Jordan and Gaza. I understand it. Eventually that look changes.
One of the first things he said to me was “You people spend a lot of money on things.” The sandwich he was eating cost 20 shekels. In Jenin it would have cost only 10. Makes one wonder if peace would bring prices down in Israel thanks to good old fashion competition. His use of “you people” might have made me raise an eyebrow, but English was not his mother tongue, so I let it go.
I’m glad I did. Later he told me that he saw that we treated people as “humans first.” When I looked at him I could see that some of the fear was gone. Or maybe he was just too tired to keep being on his guard. I think we do a damn good job of being human in my department. But hospitals are islands of sanity in a crazy world. At least the ones in Israel.
Throwing caution and fear to the wind, the young guy from Jenin went out to see the sites in Jerusalem. He was surprised by the reality. He saw Jews and Arabs walking the same streets. Taking the same busses. Shopping and working.Talking. To each other! In general, not being assholes! That’s the dirty little secret about this place, more often than not.
This is just one little anecdotal story. It doesn’t prove much and yet it’s worth telling. It’s the one thing that tyrants like Hamas are afraid of, I mean besides having their bank accounts frozen! Bibi may share that fear these days. If you want to really scare Hamas, let the Palestinian people see our humanity.