When I returned from my summer in Jerusalem, the first thing my father did upon my homecoming was read me the article written in Ha-aretz about the attack on you and your friends. I wish I could say that I couldn’t believe this type of lynching could occur on Ben Yehuda, where most of my friends flocked to every weekend and referred to as “town.” But unfortunately, I’m not surprised at all.
I’m not surprised because you could have been one of my friends. Sometimes when I would go to Ben Yehuda, I would go with non-Jews, including two of my male Palestinian friends, only a few years older than you. They would make efforts to “pass,” one introducing himself as “Mo” instead of “Mohammad.” However, the other couldn’t speak English as fluidly and would be barred from places that I could enter easily because of what was written on his ID.
I am sorry that you and my friends have to hide their identity, even if you’re just looking for a good place to watch the Euro Cup. I am sorry that I am a tourist, and Ben Yehuda was meant for me instead of you, even though you live right next door. I am sorry that my community watched as violence occurred, and that “Death to Arabs” has become a standard slogan. I am sorry that sometimes I feel hopeless to change this deep-seated and misguided hatred.
I hope that by mobilizing as a movement of concerned Jews who want to secure a better future for Palestinians and Israelis we make a difference. I hope that by writing these letters to you, we are able to show that the American Jewish community will not be satisfied to stand by and watch. Most of all, I wish you and our communities a re-fuah shalema, a full healing.