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Positive Jewish–Arab Relations

May 29, 2013
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An Israel Defense Forces [IDF] military officer that we are friends with called and told us a heartwarming story about young Israeli soldiers stationed on the border with Syria. Hundreds of Syrian refugee children have been streaming to the border, seeking assistance. This is happening at a time when thousands of Syrians are being killed by their own government forces. Undoubtedly, many of these youngsters are newly orphaned, victims of a conflict not of their making. The young soldiers have been sharing their army rations with these “enemy” children. The officer told us that the soldiers are only eating half of their rations and sharing the remainder with Syrian children.

In another story, Yaakov Bruchim, aged 22, was walking home from synagogue near Ashkelon beach when he noticed an unusual commotion, including helicopters. Suddenly, he heard a shout and noticed two swimmers drowning as they were being swept away by the waves. Without a thought for his own safety, he jumped into the water and saved the two brothers’ lives. The brothers were from a Bedouin (nomadic Arab) family. Sadly, three other brothers had also been swept away and Israel rescue services were searching for them. For four days they searched before discovering their bodies. News reports showed the nation of Israel responding with mourning for this Arab family who experienced such a devastating loss. Government ministers, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, sent condolences to the Saraya family.

 Meanwhile Yaakov sat with the family for the four days until the bodies were recovered. According to United with Israel, the Saraya father was so touched that he has declared Yaakov to be a member of his family, “God took away three sons but gave us another. He [Yaakov] is one of those people who doesn’t care about race, gender, or origin. He is a beautiful face of Israel…My home is open to him and his family 24 hours.”

Israel has also been treating critically wounded Syrians in Israeli hospitals. Several accounts have been reported in the Israeli press. They are evacuated to Israeli hospitals with the authorization of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.

Source: Rebecca J. Brimmer, International President and CEO

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