It was in 2003, toward the end of the second intifada, the second Arab uprising, that was launched against Israel. I was at my kitchen table, I remember, watching the sky darken into night. I was thinking of the almost daily bus and train explosions Israel had been living through; of restaurants, coffee houses, and people - actual people - bursting into flames; of the funerals, the mourning. Images were flashing through my mind of people folded together in pain; of the wounded, the waiting, the praying. I was wondering about the constant threat hanging over our lives.
How can we bequeath this world to our children? I thought, a world in which civilizations are rushing toward hell in the proverbial hand basket, in which death, for some, is truly chosen over life? How can we move forward while sustaining our love of life? Our liberties? The equal rights for all that we hold in such high esteem? More to the point, I thought , is it true that equal rights for one group preclude those of the next? Are we violating that value? How? And, where do we draw the line?
The thought came to me that these horrors are not new. They are as old as history itself, and when I looked at life in Israel, I saw a fullness together with an incredible complexity that I wanted to share, and an earnestness - more than anything else a painful earnestness about choices made. I wanted to show this country and its people, its complexity, its sadness and the beauty of peoples’ lives, not through the black-and-white perspectives of politics or history, but through the eyes and experiences of everyday individuals like you and me.
Let’s listen carefully to each other, for in each others' stories, we find our own.