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In Arab-Jewish relations, there are humane acts amid hostility

Various stories show that the relations between Arabs and Jews aren't all negative.

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An Israeli woman recites an early morning prayer near the shore of the Dead Sea.

Nir Elias/Reuters

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Despite the worsening atmosphere between Jews and Arabs, poignant examples of humanity still occur daily. For example:

• A new bilingual anthology of Arab and Jewish Israeli authors, called “Two,” gives voice to 41 writers through 75 unique pieces. Much of the editing and translation was done voluntarily, and the book is finally coming out after five years’ work. “We had a very depressing summer, inside Israel and outside of it,” says Tamar Weiss, one of the editors. “But I live here. This is my homeland ... and we are doing our best. Literature and poetry is our field, and that’s where we can do our little effort.”

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• In late August, an Israeli settler couple was headed home in the West Bank when Palestinians threw stones at their car, causing it to flip over and land in a ditch. Local Palestinians rushed to the scene, calmed the couple, and helped usher them and their toddler to a hospital. “I was afraid, but I know how to distinguish between terrorists and human beings, and these were human beings,” the mother told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonoth.

• Rabbi Yakov Nagen, a member of the Interfaith Encounter Association in Israel, recently was an honored guest at an Arab man’s wedding. Five years ago, during the Jewish New Year, the main fuse in the rabbi’s home tripped, leaving the family with no electricity (observant Jews refrain from turning anything electrical on during such holidays). So he found a young Arab man who agreed to flip the power back on. “Everything comes from God,” the Muslim said.

During their exchange, it came out that the Arab had resigned himself to never marrying after losing a loved one. The rabbi shared the story of a friend who had been widowed by a terrorist attack, yet found the strength to rebuild her life. Four years later, inspired by a letter he had received from the rabbi, the Arab man got married, and invited Mr. Nagen to his wedding.


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