"Absence in My Heart" is a place where you are invited to give expression to the absence- or the heaviness of your heart as I tried to do in my first post below.

This "absence" is like a hole, a vacuum or, perhaps more strongly put, like rift cutting through the heart, like a geographical (and ethical) fault.

The "fault" that one feels, the lack of completion and perfection, is a way out of complacency and an opening to understanding. It is an opening to feeling for the Other; thus the beginning of our fulfilling our responsibility to the him/her.

These posts may not be the words of "hope", "light and love" that we often want to-hear but words from the pained heart that yearns, not for its own Peace, but for Our Peace.

The comments added and empathy we feel towards each other are not only a consolation, but are actual steps in that direction.

In Peace,

-----An Absence in My Heart #1------------------------------

Twice daily I cross the Green Line ..
Morning morning i leave my Kibbutz/settlement for work in "Israel proper"
and in the afternoon..i make the climb back to the hilly occupied/disputed land of two Peoples.

Today on the way home i was giving a lift to three Jewish/Israeli high school girls-one was getting off soon, before we hit the Green Line, and two needed to get to the town/settlement of Efrat, on the Jerusalem-El Quds/Hebron-El Halil road.

At sunset we passed the T-Junction in Emek HaElah (Elah Valley). There stood two Palestinian day workers (with permits to work in Israel), who were in need of a "hitch" to their villages perched in the hilly land ahead of us. I only had room for one...so I passed them by to let off the first of the three girls. "I will turn back to pick them up afterwards" I told myself.

Having let off the first girl I "asked permission" of the other two to go back and pick up the two hitchhikers- figuring that not many Israeli cars would stop for them. I felt stuck, trapped...needing to "ask permission" to pick up the two strangers.

The first response was silence..a very uncomfortable silence for me. It was the silence of shock and maybe fear.

Finally one uttered "Are they Jews?".
"Off course not ! I answered..They are from Jabba or maybe from Nahalin. I think i know the one with the big smile. Maybe i gave him a lift before. The second one is totally unfamiliar to me."

Had these girls been adults..or perhaps had they been male..I may have ignored their fear- their recoiling from doing the good deed. But I was trapped..feeling i owed them a sense of "security" as they were my guests..and so, i left the two Palestinian day workers standing at the T-Junction..in the Valley of Elah where David met Goliath..

and i felt and Absence in my Heart.

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Thanks for sharing, in general as a Jew and Israeli I think we miss the dialogue with Israelis who live as you say in the occupied/disputed land. We kind of demonized everyone that live beyond the green line, personally I have many friends at work who live in these areas, and I regret the growing gap between the majority of the people in Israel and them. I think such dialogue is critical and wish we can find some way here on Ipeace to understand better the view and perspective of people who live in places like Efrat and other settlements, do you think we can start such dialogue here.
Roni, I have my doubts about how many and which "type" of Israelis living in the territories would participate. I think that the beauty of these networks is that i can start passing out some invitations, and plant the seed.

One major obstacle is the intertwining of political/security, nationalistic/religious and personal/ethical issues. When i discuss/debate issues with my neighbors eyeball to eyeball I think i manage to challenge their neat definitions and limited perceptions.

Will that be able to happen hear? Will they be able to due respect and trust to "mushy Peace lovers" and will "we" be able to give "them" the benefit of the doubt, respecting their real fears?

For my part, i will try to plant the seed, let's see if it grows.

From my side it will be even interesting at first to meet face to face and Israelis only, I am sure enough people over here will be interested to meet and listen, I am certain it is required for 'both sides'.
When i wrote eyeball to eyeball i was thinking of Palestinians and settlers. Meetings with Israelis of more leftwing persuasion is also important, but i think that different issues come to the foreground then.

Recently a group of people from neighboring Alon Shvut did a Sabbath walk to visit to the next door village of Khirbet Zakkariya where they met the elderly Haj Ibrahim and his younger descendants. It was the initiative of one of the guides at our Field School..There is an interesting connection between pre-1948 Jewish settlers and Haj Ibrahim and his clan. (This has not made it easier for the people of Khirbet Zakkariya to get building permits for their school or to finish their building their mosque)

I would like to get something going that would bring deeper contact with locals Palestinians, some of whom work in the settlements. The meeting in Khirbet Zakkariya did help the people of Alon Shvut better relate to the real life these Palestinian neighbors.
Hi Myron,
You choosed for the weakest, the girls, who felt fear. That is allright. It is not only because it were Palestinian men. It were men and they are girls. Together in a car is to close with strange men. It is a pity for these men, but the girls were in the car first. You were very polite and considering the feelings of the girls. You did right.
Myron ... I feel and empathise with your 'absence' that goes beyond a simple gesture of kindness and consideration, magnified many times over because of the reality on the ground and because of all the barriers - real and imaginary - that humankind creates from false hope and misplaced fear.

I look forward to watching your seed of dialogue grow and blossom beyond the cultural/religious/political divide - one that is 'inclusive' and all embracing - so that one day soon we may all heal the absence of the heart. J

What a wealth of detail there is in your lovely story.."the hilly occupied/disputed land of two Peoples."
"i was giving a lift to three Jewish/Israeli high school girls"
"There stood two Palestinian day workers (with permits to work in Israel), who were in need of a "hitch" to their villages perched in the hilly land ahead of us."
"The first response was silence..a very uncomfortable silence for me. It was the silence of shock and maybe fear."
"Are they Jews?". "Off course not ! " "I think i know the one with the big smile."
" i left the two Palestinian day workers standing at the T-Junction..in the Valley of Elah where David met Goliath."

Thank you Myron for these valuable insights into the reality of division. You are right to feel an Absence in your Heart.

We must all feel that Absence
it is our silence that allows it to continue
Our Right to Be Secure

Is it too much to want to be secure
At least to feel secure?

So we drag along with us the soft security blanket
Of checkpoints, rifles,
Stern faces closely examining ID cards

Our security blanket
Warmly wrapped around our body

Our armor
Our protection
A hard crust
Enveloping and
Strangling our heart


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