I grew up with hate, but Israeli aid changed that

By Josh Jackman, December 11, 2014


A Syrian Kurdish refugee in a camp in Suruc, near the Turkey-Syria border

A Syrian aid worker brought up to hate the Jewish state but now working with an Israeli humanitarion aid organisation says the civil war is a chance to bring the nations together.

Amin Ahmed says that by helping some of Syria's 3.1 million refugees, Israel can "change everything".

Mr Ahmed, who has helped refugees since the conflict began in 2011, said: "There are moments in history where it's very important to act, because then you make the biggest difference. This is a moment. Out of this great tragedy and crisis in Syria, you can change a lot of people's minds.

"Otherwise in 20 years, Israel will say to them they want peace, and the Syrians will say: 'We were next to you, you heard us being slaughtered; where were you?'"

He said that, like most Syrians, he was raised to fear Israel, but that changed when he met Anat Gilan, an Israeli he now works with.

"She approached me, saying they needed more partners on the ground. She was very courageous, because there is a big danger in that. You don't know who the person in front of you is. But when I engaged with the Israelis, when I saw how they are and understood their society and our differences, I looked at it as a normal country."

Ms Gilan, whose NGO is anonymous for safety reasons, said: "This relates to the Holocaust. Our 'Never Again', our belief that we need to be the voice of the voiceless, because nobody was there for us for so many years and we were massacred."

Multifaith Alliance founder Dr Georgette Bennett, who brought the pair to Britain to speak about their work, said: "One Syrian said to us: 'We now know what the Jews felt like in the Holocaust. We know what it's like to be forgotten.'"

See the article here: http://www.thejc.com/news/world-news/126614/i-grew-hate-israeli-aid-changed


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