Wendy Kalman
There are many ways to see and understand

We will yet meet

Courtesy of MorgueFile, taken by kristinhardwick
Courtesy of MorgueFile, taken by kristinhardwick

I’ve been in Israel for two weeks now and binge watched some of עוד ניפגש (We Will Yet Meet), a show about people who want to reestablish contact with family members they have not spoken to in years. Season one features secular people who lost touch with a child, sibling or parent who had became very religious while season three (I have not seen season two) is focusing on parents and children who broke off communication following divorce.

I see a parallel in why these disconnects were allowed to go on for years, even decades in some cases, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Just like these family members, each side is waiting for the other to make the first move, to apologize, to take responsibility for their pain, to acknowledge how they contributed to the broken connection. And they wait and wait.

On the show, participants are assigned a companion who they first must follow in silence for 36 hours. At the end of that time, they have learned something about the companion. Perhaps he or she has experienced something very similar. More importantly, by being taken into the companion’s life, the person not only sees that situations are repairable but also gains an understanding into his or her own long lost family member’s life. That is, the person learns to see things through the other side’s eyes….just what is needed in this interminable conflict.

Israelis and Palestinians are destined to share the land in some form or fashion. But in order to do that, they have to sit down, talk to each other and figure out how to make it happen. They have to both want to jointly find a way to proceed. And they each must stop waiting for the other to take the first step.

Whether it is clinging to some idea of who is right and who is wrong or pride or ego or a desire to nurse hurt feelings rather than fix a better path for the future, all of that is a waste of time. Just like the woman who wanted to see her son whom she hasn’t seen in 10 years and to get to know her grandchildren or the man who wanted to reestablish contact with his twin brother after far too many years or the woman who wants her father in her life, Israelis and Palestinians have to put aside all this stuff that blocks the way and decide that it’s time to prioritize a relationship over nursing hurt and anger.

This may seem impossible now. And yet, there are those thinking about the day after. This does not preclude us from thinking about the years after.

Once a decision has been made that figuring out how to live together is more important than creating ways not to, we can stop waiting for the other side to make us whole.

Given the current situation, this will take time. But just as the companions in the show work within a planned framework as they get participants to see the situation differently, although Israelis are still being held hostage and Hamas not yet been removed from power, we can begin to plan the trust-building steps necessary for when we will yet meet.

About the Author
Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Wendy lived in Jerusalem for over a decade submerged in Israeli culture. Since returning to the U.S. in 2003; she has been soaked in Southern life in metro Atlanta. An Ashkenazi mom to Mizrahi sons born in Israel and the US, MIL to a French Mizrahi DIL and an Israeli DIL whose parents are also an interesting mix, and a step mom to sons born in the South, she celebrates trying to see from multiple perspectives and hopes this comes out in her blogs. While working in Jewish and Zionist education and advocacy, Wendy's interests also have her digging deep into genealogy and bringing distant family together. All of this is to say, Wendy's life has brought her to the widened framework she uses for her blogs: there are many ways to see and understand.
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