...I love this place, I love these people and I will be back here. I will defend these people as if they were my own, because I feel as though they are.
18 May '14..
I started writing this last night in Hevron, I finished it this evening in Jerusalem. I love this place.
I am writing something that some of you might disagree with, but I don’t really care, I need to write this tonight so I’m writing it from Hebron after spending Shabbat here. I came here expecting to meet with some jihadi beard wearing, m-4 carrying zealots who yelled a lot and hate everyone. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
First, I arrived here by bus, an armored bus, the plexi glass had marks on it from stones thrown by Arabs. Upon arrival, I could hear automatic weapons fire and what sounded like concussion grenades. What struck me wasn’t so much the noise but that there were children playing in a playground who didn’t even flinch. Toddlers and small children, they just kept playing. They were playing in a playground that was sheltered and I asked why, and was told that snipers actually targeted the children here. They actually killed a 10-month old.
We arrived at the hosting families home, I met one of the youngest, a 7-year old boy named Avraham and while he didn’t speak English, I taught him how to play thumb wars and he taught me to count to 4 in Hebrew. He thought my name was Klein because Ryan is such a foreign name lol. Then I met Rachel, an 11-year old who loves to read about far away places and daydream. She asked me about places I had been and laughed when her mother told her that I came from a place where it snowed for most of the year. Her mother dotes on her and she is a beautiful child and very good natured. The mother is Tzippi who pretty much destroys the stereotypes of religious Jewish women. She is intelligent and very educated, and we had some great talks about advocacy. She films the people who attack the soldiers and Jewish people in Hebron, I will now refuse to use the word settler to describe these people. The father is Israel, a rabbi who believes in walking the walk and I enjoyed talking to him about a lot of things. He reinforced the belief that Jews are indigenous without even really understanding it in the terms I used. He explained to me that he believes they need to be here to protect the second holiest site for Jews and because there has always been a Jewish presence here dating back four thousand years. He explained how important it was to protect these sites. He expressed dismay when I told him about the power plant in Edmonton that is being built over top of an Indian sacred site. It was unfathomable to him.
I saw so many things and I don’t have room to talk about it all. I saw sacred sites dating back to Herod being claimed by another religion (talk about appropriation) I saw children being incited to violence and baiting soldiers, and I saw tour guides giving lie-filled tours this week. I have been told that ” on this corner the IDF soldier, he kicked a baby who was crawling.” Another favorite was ” this mosque is built on top of a synagogue that the Jews built on top of a mosque. It’s a sure sign that you are on the wrong side when you tell lies because the truth is wrong for your side.