About 15 Israelis from all over Israel and one Vietnamese Zen teacher gathered to come and hear from the people living on the other side of the fence, in the occupied territories.
We met two young men who lived in a small, quiet village in the heart of the mountains and heard about their lives, how much they loved life, cared about the earth and about humanity. Despite difficulties in their lives, their hearts are not bitter and full of hatred. They just want to continue living well. In another village, we had lunch and heard the life story of an older man. He experienced in his life few demolitions. As a child he suffered greatly from repeated uprooting and episodes of violence in all its forms. The hardships he described led many of us to tears and feelings of suffocation.
We then went to another village in the heart of the mountains and sat in a welcoming home. Two young family members opened their hearts to us and to life. They spoke of their desire to live in peace with their neighbors and to get know them.
These experiences shook up some of our group, but there was also something balanced about the possibility of containing both sides of the equation without deciding which side was right.
In the evening, one of the young men called me and told me how excited he was that members of our group listened to him. That was very meaningful to him.
They all received flower plants gift, and after a week, I visited the flower and the people who blossomed in their hearts.
A few days later, a friend who joined me, summed up his experience with these words:
"Yesterday I submitted myself to the kind leadership and hosting of a friend, and had a wonderful day in many ways. Two moments out of thousands: 1:30pm - making funny faces with 3 children in a tiny village and then discussing comic books with their older brother.1pm - playing domino with 5 children in a tiny village and then playing hand games with their little sister. All children were huge and gorgeous souls with beautiful windows of eyes. Some are defined by some adults as Palestinians, some as Jews, some as settlers, some as Muslims, some as Israelis, some as illegal, some as traitors...But I saw neighbors, huge and gorgeous souls with beautiful windows of eyes, souls and eyes so powerful I had to look away after a few seconds. Thank you my friend, thank you kids."