Growing up, we are often taught how to act and develop our values. From a young age we learn that it is polite to say please and thank you, greet people when greeted, and always treat people with respect when in their home. We also learn to respect our neighbors and to treat them as we would like to be treated. So in the case for Israel, what makes that different?
Today, driving into Nazareth we were greeted by signs both written in Arabic and Hebrew. Although we see this all throughout Israel, the partnering of these two languages isn’t always expected, and this has meaning to it. They are not just words written in different languages, it is a symbol of the coexistence and the potential peace that we could have. People are living side by side in this city, and are conserving a community that has instilled into their children the values to respect their neighbors whether they are Muslim, Jewish, Christian, or Druze. This allows for us to have hope. Side by side people stroll with their children in carriages and do not differentiate each other based on how they look. They pass by and smile knowing that they are blessed families that have the privilege to raise their children as Israeli citizens whose lives will be full of unlimited possibility, because they live in the nation of Israel. This not only gives me hope, but also reminds me of values – that often we look to our parents for advice but not all always lead in the right direction. With this being said, Israel is an example for the Middle East and many regions throughout the world to give us hope that people of many different ethnicities and religious beliefs can live side by side if they simply raise their children with the belief of respecting your neighbor. The city of Nazareth proved this to us.
With positive thoughts and feelings, we closed our day off in Zefat. The magical city of Israel. We got there as the sun was setting. Children were running up the hills giggling, on their way home for dinner with their families. This was something that made me realize that we are not born with hate, we are born to love and live by our values. If we spread these values and this message through children, there will be peace and the people of Israel will live with respect for their neighbors, greet when being greeted, say please and thank you, and most importantly treat people with respect when not only visiting in a home, but also respect their own home and nation.