Comfort Not Revenge

Open Door Policy: Rachel Fraenkel, the bereaved mother of murdered Israeli-American teenager Naftali Fraenkel, welcomes visitors in her home.

The three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed last week came from Gush Etzion, a cluster of settlement communities located in the Judean Mountains, between Jerusalem and Hebron.  The chair of the religious council of Gush Etzion, Rabbi Rafi Ostroff,  invited the Palestinians from the Hebron area to make a shiva call, a Jewish tradition to visit those who are grieving the death of a loved one and comfort the bereaved.

The Palestinians came and paid their respects and the mother, Rachel Fraenkel, received them.

One of the visiting Palestinians said: “I see before me a Jewish family who has lost a son opening the door to me. That’s not obvious. It touched my heart and my nation.”

The Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, during his visit to the Fraenkel home had an opportunity to speak with Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the Palestinian boy, Mohammed, who was murdered and assumed to be a revenge killing.

Mayor Barkat suggested that Abu Khdeir speak to Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of Naftali Fraenkel who recently told the press that “the life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab.” The two men comforted one another by telephone.

The Parents Circle- Families Forum, a NGO, is a joint Palestinian Israeli organization, established in 1995, committed to peacebuilding and reconciliation between Jewish Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost a loved one in the ongoing Mideast conflict. The organization has over 600 families ( 300 families from each side) who listen to each others narratives, finding comfort in the process.

This NGO concludes that the reconciliation between these two nations is a prerequisite to achieving a sustainable peace.


2 thoughts on “Comfort Not Revenge

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  1. Thank you Caren for offering a light in the midst of this dark tragedy.I wish this story received the front page treatment of stories of violence that only feed the cycle.

  2. In today’s news, 350 Israelis came to Shuafat, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem to offer their condolences to the family of the murdered Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir. The family welcomed them.

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