“So glad you’re not in work today. Just seen stabbings at Jaffa Gate.” So read a text message from my best friend in Cardiff, Wales. My heart sank, and I quickly went to a news website, which confirmed the attacks. (The two attackers were killed, and two victims have died).
Then a text message from an Israeli friend asking if I was O.K. made sense. I thought she’d messaged only because I hadn’t answered her phone call. I was in the house of prayer.
I always mourn these attacks on my precious Jerusalem, but this one happened in a location that’s been relatively safe and quiet. It happened close to where I work and on a stretch of pavement I used to walk daily.
The undertow of discord, disappointment and pessimism can pull hard on those living here. The truth is there is more coexistence and cooperation in the day-to-day than just reading the news would tell you.
As I walked to the house of prayer, I saw two Christian brothers walking together toward me. One is an Israeli Jew and one is a Palestinian Arab. They were deep in conversation on their way to lunch. These are two young men who pray together, worship together, break bread together. They worship Jesus the Messiah, pray to the God of Israel. These are not the only two. I know many Arabs and Jews who worship Yeshua together and work together, do life together.
My frustration is that we cannot tell the specific stories most times because there are those in Israel and among the Arabs and even among that nations who would persecute such unity. They either cannot stand the name of Jesus or have refused to forgive the many for the sins of a few aggressors.
Even so, there is coexistence among those who don’t know a thing about Jesus.
After the house of prayer, I went to the grocery store near by. Just as I approached the driveway, an elderly Jewish man tripped and fell hard on the sidewalk.
His hat came off as did his glasses, and a bus ticket flew out of his hand. This happened as a young Arab on an electric bicycle and I passed each other. We both stopped. I picked up the hat and ticket as the Arab teen bent down, put his arms around the Jewish man and stood him up. The teen put the hat and the glasses on the man’s head and handed him the ticket I was holding and asked him if he was all right. Once the man assented, we both went on our way.
A sort of war does simmer in Jerusalem, but so does peace. Pray for peace to overcome.
Read Fifty steps from terror to get a first-person account of the scene of the attack.