We were received as family members into the home of Ibrahim Ahmad Abu El-Hawa, and this we were told, is not unique. "I speak Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and English but my family taught me the most important language of all - the language of welcoming. I don't have a lock on the door and I never know who will be in my home. Everyone is welcome."
We spent almost an entire day with Ibrahim and his family. We shared a meal, we learned about his work, and heard story after story of brave examples of breaking barriers—inward and outward—between Israelis and Palestinians, and all people.
Although considered only a “permanent resident” by Israel (as opposed to a citizen) Ibrahim’s family has called East Jerusalem home for over 1400 years; this is the only home he knows. Annexed to Israel in 1967, East Jerusalem and its mostly Palestinian residents have witnessed its borders and people change dramatically in a short period of time, but Ibrahim refuses to close his door or his heart out of fear or anger.
With a view of the Israeli/Palestinian Separation Wall from his window, Ibrahim's wish to make peace is visceral. "It is our destiny to live here in the Holy Land together, and only our hearts can change the world."