Before we could talk business though, we had to eat. Ibrahim prepared us a literal feast - food covered every inch of the table - and told us all sorts of stories about his life and family. Ibrahim is unique - he is a peace maker who believes in working with Jews, Christians, whomever - to achieve peace in his land. His stories were passionate and inspiring. He truly believes that peace is possible, and has dedicated his life to it. He leaves his door open to anyone - and his home has become a neutral place for people to meet and come together from all sides of the factions.
He is truly a preacher of love and peace - he told stories of speaking across the world the message the Palestians and Jews are brothers - he told us about dancing at bar mitzvahs and Christian weddings - and about how much his identity as an Arab means to him. He believes in the power of relationships and grassroots efforts to build peace - he says that the politicians and world leaders need to stay out of it and quit funding the militaries on both sides.
Sitting in his home, it is not hard to believe him and the entire situation, for once, seemed infinitely more simple and hopeful. I pray for more like him and that his influence can multiply.
Me and Rabbi Yehiel - stuffing ourselves with Ibrahim's amazing lunch.
Our group after lunch. From left - Moshi, who is an exchange student from Ukraine/USA who is volunteering at RHR , Monika, an exchange student from Poland volunteering at RHR, me, a Christian guy who was staying with Ibrahim, Ibrahim, a girl staying at his house from Germany, and Ibrahim's grandson.
This is a picture of Ibrahim's ID document. Like most Palestinians in Jerusalem, Ibrahim was not given Israeli citizenship. This means that he is not a citizen of any nation (Palestine is still considered 'Occupied Territories' by Israel) and does not have a passport. He laughed uproariously showing me his ID document as it says he is Jordanian- which he does not identify with at all. As he showed me, he pointed at the next room, saying "I was born behind that wall - do you think that is Jordan?!" [Note: Jordan annexed the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the 1948 war. So according to international law, between 1948 and 1967, E. Jerusalem was part of Jordan as an annexed territory, but many Palestinians that I have talked to do not recognize this as they have a separate national identity and did/do not want to be part of Jordan]