Several years ago, I hosted a Dialogue Meeting in my home, this type of meeting is one of the most important activities of the Parents Circle, an organization founded by bereaved Jewish and Palestinian families whose relatives were killed as a result of the conflict. The purpose of The Parents Circle has always been to promote understanding and sensitivity to the pain and suffering of the other side, and to find a way not only to grieve together but to support each other and grow as human beings.
A dialogue meeting is when two members of the forum, one Jewish and one Palestinian, speak about the loss of their loved ones due to the conflict and how it affected them, changing the course of their lives. In many cases, after several years of deep mourning, it has helped them appreciate the importance of living peacefully with their neighbors.
The sons of the two mothers who came to my home were killed due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bushra Awad, the Palestinian woman from Beit Omar, near Hebron, lost her son Muhammad in 2008 when he was less than 18, and she is always dressed in black. Iris Segev, the Israeli woman from Rosh Pina, in the north of Israel, lost her son Nimrod in the 2nd Lebanon War in 2006. They both talked about the path they took toward reconciliation and understanding the other side.
I remember that Iris spoke about herself and explained that she needed to be with people like her who had experienced unbearable loss and decided to find a common path to understanding. She compared herself to her husband, who chose to commemorate their son by establishing several coffeehouses/restaurants honoring his name and memory: Cafe Nimrod, and he also built a lookout in Rosh Pina, Nimrod Lookout, which is dedicated to Nimrod and his legacy. Iris said: “I needed to be with people in order to deal with the pain so I joined the Parents Circle, my husband needed to build things.”
Yesterday I read the sad news that Hezi Segev, Iris’ husband and Nimrod’s father, died. Rubi Hammershlag, a journalist, who covers the north of Israel and a friend of Hezi, wrote on November 6th: “What a sad evening… Hezi Segev is gone. Hezi from Rosh Pina lost his son in the second Lebanon war… Hezi’s heart could not withstand all the grief and the bereavement that we are surrounded with since October 7th.”
Rubi Hammershlag is right; people do die from a broken heart. May Hezi Segev’s memory be blessed Yehi Zichro Baruch.