A meeting capable of overcoming great obstacles; a leap in love bringing two people together and generating unity. Bella Gal, a Jew living near Tel Aviv, talks about her special friendship with E., a Palestinian Christian.
A few years ago I had a really interesting and profound encounter with a Palestinian woman, a Christian, a university lecturer, at a conference in Jerusalem where she was giving a talk.
Her name is E. She brought up her children alone while her husband was in an Israeli prison for 10 years. He was released due to health problems and sadly died shortly afterwards.
Although she was suffering, E. never gave up on life and educated her children who are now professionals, each in their own area of expertise.
Her talk was very interesting but also very sad.
At the end of the speech, I left the room without waiting for the question and answer session. I could not bear to hear her story. It reminded me of my own suffering, my early childhood and my parents who died during the Holocaust.
Maybe it was very selfish of me but E. gave me a very important example and lesson in “making every encounter worthwhile”.
After leaving the hall, I sat down in the cafeteria. Suddenly I felt someone put their hand on my shoulder. It was E. who said to me: “I saw you at my lecture, and I also saw you leave at the end. Did something happen? Did I offend you?”
Although E. had every reason to be hostile towards me, we approached each other with great compassion, realising that we had both suffered but had found our inner strength, picked up the pieces and embraced the situation.
As we finished sharing and crying, E. and I immediately felt connected, and a great love and appreciation for one another. We were able to unite deeply as women and see beyond our country’s differences.
Over the years, E. has also held important political offices which is a major and historic achievement for a Christian woman living in that context.
Today, I can truly say that E. is my soulmate beyond the wall.