I grew up in Jerusalem. My mother has been here for six generations, so I am seventh generation Israeli. We have been here for a long time!
It’s a long story of how I heard about Yeshua. I was on the way to the Old City and there were people handing out leaflets about Him. I was very mad and angry at them; they were Christian and I am Jewish. It talked about shalom, peace in God, so I put it on the shelf. Then years went by and I started to the idea that I was a sinner. So I started to be a good Jew, keeping Shabbat and going to the synagogue. But my husband is very atheist and didn’t like me going. So I stopped.
The thing is, I couldn’t stop being a sinner. My life got to the point where it was a real mess. And it was then that my friend (who was a Messianic Jew) wanted to talk to me. I always wondered why she was always so optimistic, what her secret was. She told me how she got to know Yeshua. And when I heard this, I felt peace in my heart. I just knew it was the truth. I had tears in my eyes. I though, ” Wow, this is so deep.”
I’ll tell you the truth. There was a season in my life where I was really right wing. I had gone to a special service with my husband for both Palestinians and Israelis who had lost people in the wars. And I ran away from everything. I thought, “Israel is just Israel and they want to kill us so we shouldn’t help them.”
Then my heart softened and I started to find out more about the Palestinian side and understand what they feel. It was a process. But I have learned through Musalaha to put myself in the Palestinian people’s place. I had one very hard conversation with a woman from Bethlehem. She told me what life is like for her there, that she can’t come to Jerusalem and that it is very hard her to love Israel. It was a hard discussion to have. But realize that there is something more important than our differences. Therefore, we have to sacrifice, put aside our differences, and love other people.
The most important thing about going to Musalaha is learning how to love. I really felt love there between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We discuss our situation, and we don’t agree with each other about everything. But that’s ok. It gives us the opportunity to be together and to be honest with one another. God wants us to find the common thing between each of us. Even though people are different, they are still our brothers and sisters. We have to be willing to be patient and kind and learn how to forgive.
That is what is so special about Musalaha. People are authentic. They don’t say “I love Israel or I love Palestine” if they don’t think that. They can see both sides. And I love the friendship that meeting gives us. I’m very good friends with some Palestinian women. I teach one woman the piano and she teaches me Arabic! It’s great.
Even though it is hard and I still struggle with things theologically, I have made the decision to meet with Palestinians, and go on this path because it’s what Yeshua calls us to do. To be his disciples and take up our cross even though it’s not always easy. And to be peacemakers for him.