Akko, Israel – Where Jews and Muslims Live Together
The northern Israeli city of Akko (in Hebrew) or Acre (in English) is a place where Jews, Muslims and Christians live together. There are other cities throughout Israel where Jews and Muslims live together and even go to school together. Like Yafo and Ramla. It is not without problems, but these places are my only shred of hope for this country and the people affected by it. Like all humankind, Israel is split. People tend to get together in groups of same. Same ethnicity, same religion, same ideologies. Beyond that, there are politics and human rights. Terrorism and injustice. It is a complicated situation in Israel. And it is a continuous stream of hate, pain and death. You cannot go even a week in Israel without hearing about how one side wants the other to cease to exist.
I wish there were no sides. But unfortunately, there are brainwashed people on both sides. The craziest thing about it all is that Jews and Muslims are actually much more similar than they are different. They've lived and built their freakin religions on the same land in the same places for thousands of years. We should be brothers and sisters to each other. Not enemies. And yet, the only thing we do like family, is fight. So it's just one tragedy after another. Uneasiness and mistrust runs through their veins. And who can blame them? Heck, I'll admit it, even in Akko, I felt a bit uneasy being surround by Arabs, it felt strange. If they know I'm a Jew, do they hate me? Do they want to hurt me? These thoughts raced through my brain even though I didn't even grow up in this country. A place where the hate for each other is felt as early as elementary school. You don't have to be in the army to see firsthand why Israel has a mandatory service in the first place.
So what can I do? I suppose I can pray. I'm not religious, I don't know if there is a God or multiples gods or a secret higher power or anything mystical out there at all...But I can create my own mantras in which I wish for peace and an end to all suffering. I'll spend my days working with organizations that try to make this world a better place. I'll put forth my best self, and I'll hold onto the only thing I can. Tikva. It means hope in Hebrew. And as long I have it, I can only move forward and hopefully, carry others along with me.