Earlier today, I biked down to Yaffo to get some fresh air and watch the waves. As I rode down the walkway and felt the calm of the ocean, a young Arab boy on his bike passed me by. And as he did, he said “shalom!” I gave him a huge smile, recognizing that this boy was greeting everyone he passed with a shalom.
And for the last hour I’ve been thinking about that boy. How he was extending friendly gestures in what I assume is his second language. How we were on route to a city that exemplifies cohabitation between Arabs and Israelis, between Jews, Christians and Muslims. And it gave me hope that this little boy noticed that he needed to switch languages – but not switch gestures. That to him, it was simply a difference of language and that’s all.
Yet now, here I sit, reading news reports of shots being fired in multiple locations in Tel Aviv, 9 wounded, 1 of which are in critical condition. Details are emerging constantly and it’s hard to know exactly what happened. But it’s scary.
The difference of that hour is huge. I went from looking at that boy as a symbol for the peace that we all strive for to feeling desperate to change the situation that we are all in.
For the sake of the boy, for the sake of you, me, something has to give.