August 23, 2016

Tel Aviv to London: דרך השלום | The path of peace

Flight seat neighbors

After decades' traveling, going from Tel Aviv to London was the first time I sat next to one of my heroes, a rock star for peace. Shared geography, histories, and values led to our first meeting in 2002, when I was living in Jerusalem. Ibrahim Abu El-Hawa was born on the Mount of Olives where my father is buried in the Jewish cemetery.

On this flight, the renowned Sufi Muslim known as the "ambassador of goodwill" was accompanying his grandson Akhmed to New Orleans; there, the teen will live with his uncle's family several months learning English and life beyond his native East Jerusalem. Ibrahim and I yakked nonstop and howled laughing (fully understanding) when first-time international traveler Akhmed frequently asked, "Are we there yet?"

A fresh 'do for adventures in New Orleans.
"Are we there yet?" 

Ibrahim showed me the papers he carries, including a laissez passer travel document (no passport yet for him and fellow East Jerusalem residents), copies of articles in the Hebrew, English, and Arabic press on his work, travels, and close relationships, including with the late Ravi Shankar and (Orthodox settler) Rabbi Menakhem Froman.

"דרך השלום" [Hebrew, The path of peace]

Ibrahim has logged millions of miles carrying his message that peace is possible among neighbors, whoever they are, wherever they live. Next stop: China.

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