It´s sunny Sunday morning and I am in Frankfurt on Main.
Immediately after waking up I realize, where I am and why am I here at this very moment.
It`s third October and The 2nd German Israel Congress with about 200 pro-Israel organizations takes place today, It is the biggest event of this kind in Europe and I am excited to take part in it.
I am here for three reasons: I want to represent my organization Action Reconciliation Service for Peace and make some advertisement for our guest house in Jerusalem called Beit Ben Yehuda. Secondly I want to write an article for Jewrnalism and last but not least, I want to meet Mosab Hassan Youssef.
But one after another: Why does this conference take place in Frankfurt? One answer could be: for logistical reasons, It was smart to look for a city easy to get to (by plane, train or car) with a huge Congress Center which can host up to 3.000 persons, that gathered here today. The less obvious (but still important) reason is, that the city of Frankfurt has a long German- Jewish history and that Tel Aviv and Frankfurt are twin cities nowadays.
All greetings everyone underline the special relationship between (just rarely the word friendship appears) Germany and Israel. Also almost everyone of the speakers mentions the release of Gilat Shalit, which is celebrated from the audience with lots of applause.
In all greetings everyone underlines the special relationships (just rarely the word friendship appears) Germany and Israel have. Also almost everyone of the speakers mentions the release of Gilat Shalit, what is greated by the audience with applause.
While I was outside, eating some really good food and talking to some of the people from other organizations, as well as informing myself at information stands of travel agencies, the talks and discussions in the main hall kept on. Then it was Danny Ayalon´s turn to speak. In his speech he mentioned nothing that was new to me, but in the end he was asked, what he would give as a message to the Jewish Youth in Germany. He answered: “To the Jewish Youth in Germany - I would like to say: Your first loyalty belongs to your country, but you also have a responsibility towards Israel. You are privileged to live here and to live in a pro- Israel country.”
At least I have not expected that. No talk about Aliya? Nothing like ambassadors for Israel in Germany? Well, I guess, that question came unexpected also for him.
And finally the speaker I was waiting for all afternoon appeared: Mosab Hassan Youssef, co- author of the New York Times Bestseller “Son of Hamas”. In his autobiographic book he talks about his growing up in the West Bank, his families involvement in Hamas (His father was one of the seven founding members of the terror organization.) and his work with the Israeli intelligence for about ten years.
The one who once was a enemy of the state of Israel now declares: “People came here to say I like Israel I came to say I love Israel!”
Nowadays he lives in the United States and he says: “My people consider me a traitor and yes, they want to kill me.” Talking about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict he states that it is a bad idea to have an own state for Palestine. “Israel has no room for two states and we all see, what had happened in Gaza Strip. Not only Israelis would suffer, but also Palestinians.” He explains how he became the person standing in front of us now : just by following the example of Jesus, who was thought “Love your enemy.” By understanding and suiting the action to the word, his whole life changed.
Later, while buying his book and letting him signing it - still full with all the impressions of his speech- I would love to ask him a thousand questions, but all I hear coming out of my mouth is a stuttering “Thank you!”
Anyway when I met an ex-terrorist leader on a conference, whose topic is “Peace through Security - Security through Peace”I feel strange. No one could have expressed this theme in one person better than Mosab Hassan Youssef. And I start to dream, if there would be just 10 more people like him in the Palestinian - Israeli society, we might keep on going forward in a Peace process. But then I wake up from my daydream and ask myself: but when this story is too good to be true and when he is just a rare exception - what wouyld happen then?
Maybe, I think and I try to convince myself, maybe one day there will be Peace in the Middle East, but not today and not tomorrow. There is still a long way before us to go : education, sharing resources (water, energy etc.), learning each other´s narrative and stopping racism and hatred. I want to close with one last quote of Mosab, who says: “I hope that none of my children will go through what I did.”
In the end, I guess, we are all just human beings and not as different as we think. We want Peace, if not for us, at least for the next generation.
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