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Monday, July 7, 2014

Motivational Mondays: Will Middle East Tragedy Bring Peace & Reconciliation or Retribution?

Thought for the Day: Sometimes, even psychologists remain silent when they are upset. This has been the case for me regarding the events over the past weeks in the Middle East. First, I was shocked and saddened by the kidnapping, search for and finally the discovery of the murder of three young teenagers in Israel. I had no words and avoided speaking about it on my blog. Then, words failed me again as I was disgusted to hear of the murder of a Palestinian teen in an apparent act of retribution. I feared an escalation of acts of retributions. Two wrongs never make a right, they simply lead to more and more wrongs. Those of you who follow my blog know that I am essentially a pacifist doing what ever I can to advocate for a more peaceful world with sensible gun control. When I hear of senseless murder of children, even I have trouble finding the right words.

Today, I noticed an article that gave me a sense of hope in the midst of the terrible most recent tragedies that have happened in the Middle East. Instead of retribution, it was the story of Palestinians and Jewish mourners consoling one another. Can tragedy motivate people to find ways to reach peace?

At least two families of murdered Israeli teen, Naftali Fraenkel and Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir are attempting to find ways to bring peace and reconciliation by comforting one another. While on a condolence visit with the Fraenkel family, the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, helped initiate a phone conversation between Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed Khdeir's father and Yeshai Fraenkel, Naftali's uncle. Yeshai Fraenkel had spoken out to the Israeli  press saying, "The life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab." The two grieving men found support over the phone.

Rabbis have also facilitated in person visits by Arab families with Jewish mourners. Palestinians from Hevron came to the Fraenkel home to offer their condolences. In addition, there are Arabs and Jews organizing a day of fasting on July 15th in an attempt to end violence in the region.

The more people reach out to one another as human beings and recognize the senselessness of murder and retribution, the closer we will come to peaceful solutions and hope for future generations to come. May tragedy lead to peace.

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