Jews & Muslims Refuse to be Enemies (Yakir Englander)


I’m tired of posting about war, fighting, killing, death, and the hateful polemics and arrogant apologetics about them. In that spirit, I’m sharing a piece by Yakir Englander that appeared in ISLAMiCommentary out of Duke University. Yakir writes about a group he’s involved with, Kids4Peace, about overcoming hatreds in Israel and Palestine between Jews and Muslims, about his sister and mother, and about the people with whom he works and partners. It’s an autobiographical piece. Too sweet perhaps for some, I liked it a lot. You can read it here, and you can follow ISLAMiCommentary here on FB and here on Twitter. Kudos to ISLMAMiCommentary for publishing a word about peace during at such a rough time.

Yakir writes, “In my inner world, Israelis and Palestinians no longer live separated from each other. I now understand that my narrative as an Israeli is deeply linked with the Palestinian narrative, precisely because the founding of the State of Israel, after the tragedy suffered by my Jewish family in the Holocaust, entailed a new tragedy for the Palestinians, who have paid the price in many ways for what was done to my people in the past by others.”


“Remember your anger and pain from today and support the holy people who dedicate their life to meet with the “enemy, ” and maybe even partner with them. Decide what you want to do in order to end the conflict, for real. Be part of something that goes beyond first aid. I can’t tell you what is the best way. But I know that the deeper conflict will be ended by people who are sensitive to both narratives, who act day and night to challenge themselves and others — by people who take the risk to live without the safety of a narrative of hate.

Ramadan Kareem”


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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1 Response to Jews & Muslims Refuse to be Enemies (Yakir Englander)

  1. efmooney says:

    Tami still visits her Palestinian-Israeli butcher, with whom she’s had amiable relations for a dozen years. He’s in an Arab village down the road (not in the West Bank), who tells her, as she inquires after his feelings about the mess, that all the sensible Arabs he knows want a cease-fire and think that Hamas is suicidal and making trouble for everyone. We have hummus later in the day at an Arab-owned cafe, and pick up an orchid at a Palestinian nursery. The headlines of (real) horrors blot out the reality of peaceful relations, sustained over decades and through these days of trouble. The moral evil is evil. The moral good is good. The challenge is to live with eyes open to both. — from Hod HaSharon, near Tel Aviv, where you can hear one or two booms each day, preceded by sirens. Talking of “the” Palestinians or “the” Muslims or “the” Israelis hardly does justice to realities too easily blurred or erased.

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