Sunday, 13 July 2014
Our Mission: Stop Hamas Terrorism
want them here," Mohammed's mother says through tears. "I want these
women to support me." What happened when amid rocket fire Israeli
mourners visited the family of the murdered Palestinian teenager:
http://ow.ly/z5PZu In this together: The uncle of the slain Israeli
teenager Naftali Fraenkel consoles Hussein Abu Khdeir, father of
"I want them here," Mohammed's mother says through tears.
"I want these women to support me." What happened when amid rocket fire
Israeli mourners visited the family of the murdered Palestinian
teenager: http://ow.ly/z5PZu In this together: The uncle of the slain
Israeli teenager Naftali Fraenkel consoles Hussein Abu Khdeir, father of
The family of slain Palestinian teenager received
condolences from an unlikely source Tuesday: Israelis who had asked to
come and mourn with them.
The scene was predictably awkward, even
painfully so. But as NPR's Ari Shapiro reported for today's Morning
Edition, the visit also brought a moment of grace for many of those
The Abu Khdeir family lives in East Jerusalem, miles
from the violence around Gaza, where militants have been firing rockets
and Israel has launched airstrikes this week. With those tensions as a
backdrop, a group of Israelis visited the family Tuesday, despite some
relatives' concerns that such a visit might be used as a public
Here's how Ari describes the scene:
"A huge group of Israelis has just pulled up in a tour bus, and people
are arriving, some wearing yarmulkes, some wearing headscarves. They are
young, and old, wearing sunglasses and flip-flops or somber button-up
shirts and slacks.
"The murdered teenager's uncle stiffly
stands to greet his visitors. He tells me his culture of hospitality
compels him to greet these guests warmly.
" 'I am an Arab,' he says. 'As long as they are in my house, I cannot turn them back. They are welcome in my house.'
"A cousin, Nihaya Abu Khdeir, stands to the side. She says she has
mixed feelings. 'We have our culture and our respect. We can't just tell
them to go, even if we want them to.'
"So, the Israelis sit awkwardly in the plastic chairs."
have come to apologize for the behavior of extremists, they say. But
not all the relatives want the visitors there; one woman screams not to
let others in.
Explaining why she came, teacher Nena Leibel tells
Ari, "I personally think that any time one person does something good
for another person, this world gets a little better."
brought dates and coffee as a gift for the family. But as Ari says, "one
of Abu Khdeir's aunts told her, 'I don't want anything from you.' So
she hangs on to them."
Ari asks another visitor, Ruth Danziger, if it's hard to make such gestures when attacks are underway.
"Maybe," she says. But, she adds, "I think the peace will come from the people, not from our leaders."
Eventually, the Israeli women gather near Mohammed's mother in an extraordinary scene, as Ari describes it:
"In the center of the grape arbor, Mohammed Abu Khdeir's mother Suha
sits, weeping over the loss of her son. Many of the Israeli women around
her are crying, too.
"She speaks Arabic to my interpreter, who translates.
" 'I want them here,' she says through tears. 'I want these women to support me.' "
he left, Ari says, Leibel stopped him to say that the gifts she had
brought — dates and coffee — were finally accepted. In return, she got a
hug, she says.