About half a mile from where I live in Herzliya, on a hill overlooking the
Mediterranean, stands an old mosque. It was built during the Middle Ages and a
Moslem holy man is buried on that site. The holy man's name was Sidney Ally and
that is how the mosque is known to this day. The beach bellow, stretches all the
way to Herzliya to the South, and Netanya to the North.
I often go there for walks because from its heights one has a panoramic view of
the sea and the whole area. There is another reason why I go there; from that
hill, at certain weather conditions, the Mediterranean turns into a colour of
blue that can not be seen anywhere else.
Last Friday, as the wind began blowing from the East, the Medi, as we call our
sea, began calming down. It flattened the waves coming ashore until it became as
placid as the Kinneret during the summer. It was then that the deep blue colour,
as if by a magic wand, emerged from the depth of its waters. It wasn't the first
time I saw it and I always witness that phenomenon with rising spirits. "If
there is so much beauty in this world, then there is hope for us humans yet." I
said to myself.
The silence was interrupted by a noisy bus full of Arab worshipers who arrived
to the mosque for their Friday services. They wore the traditional Arab garb,
and entered the mosque quietly. Some of them threw me hostile glances. Their
arrival brought me back to our desperate conflict with these people for the
piece of land we call Israel, and they call Palestine. Only a few years ago at
Camp David, we deluded ourselves that they are finally ready for peace; Israel
and Palestine living next to each other for the mutual benefit of both peoples.
But that was not to be. They are still not ready to relinquish their old dream
to oust us out of the Middle East.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" I heard a voice behind me speaking English. As I
turned around I saw a well dressed young man of about twenty five, looking
wistfully at the sea. By his accent and looks I realized that he was an Arab,
probably one of the lot that arrived by bus. A quick visual scan of his body
assured me that he didn't come to stab me, or blow himself up. I nodded. "Yes it
is beautiful". " Well, we have at least one thing in common." I thought.
And then I had a second thought. "Here stands an Arab youth next to me, in the
heart of Israel, calmly admiring with me the sea. There was not a shadow of a
doubt in his mind that something bad would ever happen to him here in Israel. I
tried to imagine myself standing that way in Ramalah, and having that
conversation with an Arab youth. Then I remembered a scene filmed by an Italian
TV correspondent in Ramalah last year. Two Israelis, who by mistake took a wrong
turn, found themselves among a mob of Palestinians. They were brought to the
Palestinian police station where they were lynched and their mangled bodies were
thrown out of the window, to the cheering crowds below. They kicked them and
beat them until they were an unrecognizable mess of flesh."
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