A word about peace, people and life.
Who are we? And where do we come from? Does our past define our future? Or is the future that defines our present? Do goals guide our life? Or is history that guides our goals? Why? Why? Why? These are hard questions; they are questions of doubt of curiosity. A funny thing about curiosity is that it guides people, leaves them with a hunger which in turn leaves them to do things. Be it land a rover on Mars or get to know that girl over there. As people we are curious. Curious to know, “Why does he think like that?” Or perhaps: “How does he think like that?” But how often do we take action? How often are our questions truly answered, meaning the answer is true and not an assumption?
For two and a half weeks 40 kids from different origins and with different destinations all met in the holy land. Even if our paths were different for 2 and a half weeks they became so intertwined that from that moment on they would never be too far apart from one another.
My journey on JITLI changed my life. Questions much like “Who am I?” and “What am I?” were not only answered through JITLI but they were given a different meaning. One grows up in JITLI we come to understand how to deal with others and how to deal with yourself. As we were walking through Malsde Shams on a hot day. And as we listened to Salman talk about the horrors of the IDF and his utter desire to return to Syria. It was in this moment that most of us realized that we are a family and it is more important to put our differences apart in order to have our friendship. We realized that while some of us agreed or disagreed with this man that it was more important to support each other when we were hurt than prove our point. Same thing happened in Yad Vashem where all of us put our differences aside to come together to help our friend that was in a bad place. To give our hand in friendship to this being that needed it. In JITLI I grew up, I came to see this world with a different set of eyes. Maybe older eyes, perhaps wiser eyes or maybe the eyes of a fool but they are different eyes. They are understanding eyes that see that our past does not affect our future. Have come to see that where we come from does not define who we are or who we are with. Arabs, Jews, American and Israelis. We are all different from different places and with different stories, our paths have different destinations and different origins but today they are intertwined. It is our story that we share a story of mixing and learning. So if the question is “Who we are?” then my answer, in the JITLI way, is that we are all people and we are all potential. We are not what are parents were instead we are our own person. Yes we have our STORY but that is merely an excuse to do what we do. Instead we are our relations, with our friends. We are our goals. We are our success. JITLI has changed who I am because it changed my friends, my goals and my successes. In other word THIS IS JITLI.