I won't deny my apprehension when first spotting a large group of Palestinians near the edge of the saline wonder that is the Dead Sea. With the media riling for decades regarding the neverending ideological rift between the Jewish Israelis and Muslim Palestinians, I worried about the Arabs forming negative stereotypes before even speaking to me.
I couldn't have been farther from the truth.
Throughout my month long journey in Israel, I encountered an innumerable amount of Arabs who greeted my Jewish family with sincere kindness. The first memorable act of compassion occurred in a Druze village, where a small market stand owner invited me to his home for dinner. Regretfully, I couldn't take him up on his wonderful invitation.
"Toda raba!" I exclaimed as I gleefully departed his tiny shop. Thank you!
While visiting the Dead Sea, I had the pleasure of acquainting myself with a group of Palestinians attending a university in the West Bank. One of the men had recently been released from jail on good behavior. He solemnly recalled his imprisonment due to his controversial journalism dictating the Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects and the government's role in deterring such progress. Although breaching the language barrier proved to be quite a challenge, their tones of good will transcended mere lingual disparities...
Unfortunately, good news is rarely considered worthy news. So, I'd like to disparage the image conjured by the pessimistic media reports... If only we could focus on the positive rather than bask in radicalism.