Now that I've lived a summer in Jerusalem, Middle East news feels more immediate to me than it used to. This week, that truth has been a painful one. It's been heartbreaking to watch the news pour forth from Gaza these last few days. And the vitriol I'm seeing across the blogosphere, and on several of the e-mail lists to which I belong, leaves me almost as heartsick as the news.
So what can I offer? Via Sustainable Judaism comes this YouTube video of "The Jewish-Arab Peace Song" (not the most creative title ever, though I guess at least it's informative) -- a song celebrating the shared wish for peace, in Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles:
I like the oud line, the doumbek, and (for lack of a better term) the feel of the song; this couldn't have come out of anywhere but Israel, and I love that about it. I also love its message -- and how its very existence reminds me that there are Israelis and Palestinians who share the vision of a just peace between their two peoples, no matter what either government does or says.
The song was commissioned by Peace Child Israel, an organization which aims to teach coexistence to Israeli and Palestinian teens through theater and the arts. It was written by Israeli artist Shlomo Gronich and is performed by Gronich, Leah Shabat, Mizrahi singer Zehava Ben, and Eli Luzon alongside Palestinian artists Sahmir Shukri, Nivine Jaabri, Elias Julianos, and Lubna Salame. (Read more, including a list of supporting instrumentalists, here.)
Feeling saddened by the flood of news, I opened a book of psalms; I landed on psalm 122, which contains the line לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי, אֲדַבְּרָה-נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ, "For the sake of my brothers and friends, I pray, peace to you." If only we could see one another, across these various borders, as brothers and friends.