It warms the heart… the fires of love

998 of my articles have been published over the past five years. My goal was to be 1000. The final two articles have already been written and are waiting to be sent, one at end of January and last one in in March.

But today, something unique happened, something which deeply touched my heart with fires of love.

Even though it will exceed my intended goal of 1000 articles, I won’t count this one among the 1000. That would be beyond a promise to write 1000 articles. 1001 would be cheating.

It is a brief story about a very long friendship between Jews and Arabs in Israel. In specific, a reference to the Arabs of Abu Ghosh on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a town and a people known throughout Israel as the “hummus capitol of the world”. Israelis and even tourists travel from far and wide to sample and to delight in the grilled kebabs and heaping plates of hummus of Abu Ghosh. None like it anywhere else in the world.

Our love affair goes back to 1948 and even to years before it. When Arab riots and massacres of Israeli Jews were taking place across pre-state Palestine by Palestinian Arabs, Abu Ghosh was the sole Arab town whose population never lifted a hand to harm their Jewish neighbors.

On the contrary, when roads to Jerusalem were blockaded by Arabs which prevented food, water and medicines from entering the city, it was the Arab population of Abu Ghosh who provided the means of survival for the Jews.

One means of expressing our love to them for their efforts to help and to save us is by visiting their town and enjoying the delicacies which their many restaurants offer us.

This article is NOT #1001 but is more of a memo of gratitude and amazing love for a wonderful people. It goes far beyond what the last two written but still unsent articles have to say. This one is because of the fires of love which warmed my heart as I sincerely hope will warm yours.

It is brief but its message is long and enduring.

A young Jewish policeman, 33 year old Neal Erlich, lived in Abu Ghosh with his wife Adi and their two-month old baby daughter. They were respected Jewish citizens in an Arab town.

Neal suddenly and without warning suffered from cardiac arrest and died.

Immediately following his funeral, the leaders of Abu Ghosh set up a mourning tent in the town and hundreds of Arabs sat shiva in Neal’s memory and paid condolence calls to Adi, the young widow.

Unheard of in any place in the world, yet a memory of love, bravery and friendship which sets Abu Ghosh apart from any spot on the soil of Israel…. Perhaps from any spot anywhere on the globe.

A place which warms the heart kindled by the burning flames of everlasting love.

Adi has decided to remain living in Abu Ghosh with her infant child.

That is what Neal would have wanted. And that is what the people of Abu Ghosh want.

“Salaa Allah ealayhim latfuhum”. May God bless them for their kindness !

It warms the heart. The Fires of Love.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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