By Caroline Kessler
Well, that’s what we’ve got at the Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, where two eight-year-olds from differing backgrounds are recovering from wounds inflicted by distressingly similar causes. Ethan Bronner’s carefully poignant article, “A Mideast Bond, Stitched of Pain and Healing” appeared in The New York Times on New Year’s eve-eve. Perhaps this signified the ushering in of a new age and a new feeling towards writing on the Middle East.
Or perhaps not. Nevertheless, it’s a compelling tale of two kids, Orel and Marya. They play together in hospital corridors and they play their expected roles: he’s a Jewish Israeli injured by a Hamas rocket, she’s a Muslim from Gaza who was injured by an Israeli missile. In the vein of articles on transcending the changing borders of Israel and the Palestinian territories, Brommer shows that relationships can transcend things like borders as well.
The families of Orel and Marya have become incredibly close, connected by their children’s mutual struggles and hope for the future. There is neat little truth that Orel’s mother reiterates at the end of the article, in the form of a question: “Do we need to suffer in order to learn that there is no difference between Jews and Arabs?”
Caroline Kessler, hailing from the not-so-charmed city of Baltimore, is an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University.