On Friday the 18th of May, the second stage of the project "Knowing is the Beginning" began. At the first stage, all the Forum members learned together about both nations' narratives and, as part of knowing the "other" narrative, visited Yad va Shem and two villages from 1948. The second part includes 28 PCFF members, Israelis and Palestinians. The group was divided into Israeli-Palestinian couples. Each couple will go through a voyage together in which they'll tell and listen to each other's personal story and narrative. The stories will be written down.
The meeting on the 18th included the whole group. Each one of the participants told briefly his or her story. The idea of the project is, after acknowledging each other's national narrative, to listen, learn and acknowledge each other's personal stories and narrative. Israel and Palestine, like the rest of the world, are built from millions of personal stories, tragedies, immigration, refugees, expectations, despair and many human stories of pain and hope.
Here are some brief examples from six stories:
Nora Za'arir of Bethlehem lost her brother Fadi when she was 22 years old. Nora got married when she was sixteen. Today she carries twins in her womb. The genes for twins came from her grandfather who had 25 children; ten of them were born as twins. From all his children only seven survived.
Rami Elhanan lost his daughter in 1997. One of the memories Rami is trying to preserve is the one of Smadar sitting on her grandpa Matti's knees and speaking Arabic to him. This was a special sight because her Grandpa wasn't exactly the type on whose knees you sit. Rami used to tell his parents that they spoke Yiddish when they didn't want Rami and his siblings to understand and Smadar found the Arabic so her parents won't understand her. Today Rami is learning Arabic and his son Elik learns Yiddish. The two of them in Rami's eyes are closing a circle.
Aisha Fares, of Nablus, lost her brother. Aisha's family, came from Persia, through Turkey to Palestine and Israel. Her Grandfather used to work in the Turkish Army and as a result of that the family moved from Tuluza, a village near Nablus, to Haifa, Lod, Ramla and back to Tuluza after '48. Her father studied in Jerusalem, married a villager and moved to Kuwait. In 67 the Israeli authorities did not allow him to return. Her mother did not agree to leave her home and join him and stayed in the village.
Boaz Kitain of Neve Shalom, lost his son in 1997. Boaz's grandparents came from Poland and Russia in 1920. His grandfather left the Lubavits Rabbinical sect, became a communist and studied medicine. He moved with his family to Hebron in 1929. In the Arab attack on the Jews in Hebron, Palestinian friends saved him and his family. Because he was a doctor he stayed to help the wounded. Boaz's parents were born in Tel Aviv. His mom was one of the founders of Kibbutz Revadim. Revadim wad conquered and destroyed by the Jordanian legion with Palestinian help. His father was killed in an airplane crash when Boaz was four.
Id Abu Ayash of Beit Omar, lost his dad at the age of 6. His family lived in a village next to Rahat and Lahav. The family had more then 2000 dunams in the area. His grandfather was a farmer and was well known in the area. After '48 he became a man without a home. He had 14 children and was killed in the war near Kfar Ezion. Id and his siblings were raised by his mother.
Merav Yaron Bar-Niv of Kibbutz Givat-Hayim Ihud, lost her brother in 1967. Her great-grandparents from her fathers side came to Israel in 1904-1905 and were one of the 65 families who established Tel-Aviv. Her family established the first printing press in Tel-Aviv. The family wandered in Israel and established the Beit Hakerem neighborhood in Jerusalem. Merav's grandfather was one of the first land surveyors. In one period he worked for an Iraqi oil company. In the winter of 1936 he was in Iraq and wanted to return in time to hear the first concert of the Israeli philharmonic orchestra. He flew in on an 'plane in stormy weather and was killed when the 'plane crashed above the Valley of Jezreel.
More participants in the project are: Ayelet Shchak, Tel Mond, who lost her daughter. Bhajat Abu Sarah, Beit Omar, who lost his son. Khaled El Bau, Bethlehem, who lost his son. Eran Damelin, Tel Aviv, who lost his brother. Kayis El Masari, Nablus, who lost his son. Ya'akov Guterman, Haogen, who lost his son. Muhammad Animad, Tzurif, who lost his son. Usama Abu Ayash, Beit Omar, who lost his father; his wife lost two brothers. Avraham Shomroni, Tel Aviv, who lost his son. Yussuf Alamo, Beit Omar, who lost his mother. Yael Misheiker, Jerusalem, who lost her son. Aesha El Hatib, Nablus, who lost two brothers. Nazia Kadur, Dalyat El Carmel, who lost a son. Jona Bargur, Ramat Hasharon, who lost a son. Jalal khudairy, Tubas, who lost two brothers. Nira Lavi, Karkur, who lost her son and her husband. Kamal Zidan, Beit Jan, who lost two sons, and his wife who also lost her brother. Nasra Shihab, Nablus, who lost two sons. Fadia Dabis, Zbabde, who lost a brother. Aaron Barnea, Hulon, who lost his son. Mashka Litvak, Negba, who lost her father and brother.
Sharon Kalimi Misheiker
Documented by Yael Misheiker
Photography: Mashka Litvak
Knowing is the beginning
“Knowing is the Beginning” - second meeting