Monday, September 23, 2013

Do Not Desecrate the Name of Our Father Abraham/Ibrahim

Jews and Arabs of Hebron -
Look to Father Abraham/Ibrahim!
!שמעו שמים והאזיני ארץ
Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth!
!שמעו אחי ובני דודי
O hear, my brothers and my cousins!

Terror strikes me as I write these lines. Before my eyes I see rivers of blood. This is the holiday of “"ושאבתם מים בששון, “with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). The drawing of water, the source of all life. With Friday’s murder of Tomer Hazan and the sniper attack yesterday in Hevron, this holiday has already witnessed enough death.

If the reports are correct, yesterday's sniper attack was deliberately meant to be a provocation. Do not take the bait. Repeat, do not take the bait!
It is laudable to “not give in to terror”, but it will also be tempting to 'show who's in charge'; people will shout 'Death to the Arabs.' The world media will be waiting to watch you do it. Don't play into the hand of your provocateur. If there is ever to be real peace it will be when we come to recognize why this place, Hebron/al-Khalil, which means “friend" in both Hebrew and Arabic - is so important to us.
As historic victims of prejudice, we know that not all people are the same.
These are Bnai Yishmael (Children of Ishmael), monotheists. There are at least 10 righteous people among them (cf. Genesis 18:32). It is true that most of them, but not all of them, hate you. Don't give them even more reason to.
To my Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Christian cousins: what you want is an end to military occupation. You want the army out of your lives and to govern yourselves as a free people. But, it won't happen tomorrow.
Understand that Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a place that is holy to us. The closest parallel in Islam would be the tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, Al-Masjid al-Nabawī, in Medina.
In ancient times, the Children of Israel made two 7 day holiday pilgrimages to Jerusalem, one at Passover and one at Sukkot, the holiday that we are currently celebrating. The term the Torah uses for the holiday is “the Hag”. If it looks familiar, it's because it is.
You know that we are Semites. This is our Haj. It is our custom to visit holy places during this period. You want to be respected during your holidays. So do we.
My Jewish brothers and sisters don't believe Islam has respect for Judaism. Show them that they are wrong. Risk your lives for peace.
Tell your brothers and sisters that you have had enough of blood. Be courageous and brave for peace. If not for our sakes, then for your own. Will it really matter 'who started it' when you go to bury your child?
One thing we all agree on is that our leaders are failing us. But that doesn't absolve us of responsibility. Be the change you want to see in the world. Many of us are working on alternative plans to resolve the conflict—alternatives to the unfeasible plans currently on the table. Here is the link to an article I wrote two months ago ( Is it perfect? No. But, is there hope? Yes.

If there is anything that we learn from Abraham it is faith and hope. Kindness to the foreigner and the stranger. Our Torah states that Ishaq/Isaac and Ismail/Ishmael came together in Hebron at the end of Abraham's life to bury him next to his wife, Sarah.
We are destined to be neighbors. Neither of us is going to disappear.
Love your neighbor as yourself. God/Allah was serious about that.
Shalom Aleichem - Wa ‘alaykum al-salaam.

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