For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Your graying hair is simply cut. No, you don't dye it. You wear a simple, wide oriental dress that – under other circumstances – could well serve a settler from the hilltops. Very intelligent – that is clear. About fifty years old, with a student's backpack. Of European descent – that is also clear. Very fluent, Israeli Hebrew. Just like the women of the radical left Machsom Watch. Surely, you are also part of that group.
You do not know Arabic, and you devotedly help the Arabs that you accompany to the Israeli hospital – Arabs from Gaza till Afghanistan – with a mixture of Hebrew and English. You offer a cup of water to a crying mother, to another you offer a chair, you take care of their paperwork. You are a special woman – no doubt about it. Everyone already knows you here – and respects you.
We did not exchange one word. But the weeks of furtive glances that we exchanged said it all. Once, I would simply have hated you. I would have considered you a traitor. Why are you fluttering around a burned child who was playing with a bomb that for some reason was in his backyard in Kalkilyah? Is there not enough Jewish pain into which to channel your kindness?
But the anger has been replaced by a feeling of pity. I understand where you are coming from. I saw people like you not long ago, in protected housing for Holocaust survivors. I happened to have met a group of German youth there. They volunteer there regularly, to try to atone at least a bit for the crimes of their fathers.
You are motivated by the same, horrible feeling of collective guilt that you have taken upon your conscience. You are trying to atone for their dispossession from "their" land. But unlike the youths from Germany, here in the hospital you come face to face with someone who still believes in the "Occupation."
I am not the only one looking at you. The Arabs who you so selflessly help are also looking. Most of them are good people, sympathizing, trying to calm a crying child. But what do they think when they see you, an Israeli who thinks that if she stole Sheikh Munis from them in 1948, they will forgive her if she brings them a cup of water?
In truth, I have more respect for them than you do. I do not try to buy them with superficial friendliness. I think that they respect me much more than they do you because you have declared that you are a robber and I – I am living on my Land. They understand and respect that.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"