Dear Yossi Klein,

I am writing to you from a country that surrounded us by walls of hatred so we won’t be able to communicate with you.

I have finished reading your book “Letters to my Palestinian neighbor”.

 I am curious to know what your reaction will be when you find out that I agree with most of your opinions as presented in your book. Don’t be shocked because it does not require a miracle for some people to be understanding.

I grew up in this place and was raised to hate you for no obvious reasons. I kept questioning this hate that is imposed on us. Why do hate Jews? I asked myself. The only answer I got from people around me is that Jews are arrogant people. They condescend everybody and think they are better than the rest of human beings.

I had the opportunity to read your book and several other books by Jewish authors. I read about your artists and intellectuals like Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein. I found different things.

Some justified our hatred towards Jews by saying that you committed massacres against Palestinians. I managed to educate myself about what is really going on and  learned about the Palestinian violence against you. I read about the stabbing attacks and the exploding buses causing murder of many innocent Israelis.

I believe that that violence is part of our culture. I am surrounded by violence in so many forms and shapes. It’s deeply rooted to a point that you cannot even imagine. But I am guess you have some clue about this if you are familiar with what is going on in my country

Many of us have become aware of the large extent of persecution and injustice to which Jews were subjected in the past in all the countries they resided in after the Babylonian captivity between 597 BC and 538 BC as well as The Roman-Jewish War that came after between 66 AD and 73 AD, not only in the Middle East but across the whole world. Not to mention the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust

Some say that this persecution was the result of the arrogance of the Jews and their refusal to integrate into the communities they lived in, but I see it differently now after reading your book. The Jews were scattered all over the world for two thousand years and were stateless, while maintaining a great desire to return to their homeland, which they revered. This desire made them different and unique, and unfortunately the world did not understand their deep desire to go back to their sacred homeland and the urgency of it.

I understand this sacred love that you have for your land, a love which has not changed for thousands of years within Jewish hearts.

Today it is no longer important to stick to the suffering of the past, and all we desire is for the Palestinians and Israelis to live in peace.

You mentioned in your book that you understood the Palestinians’ desire to establish a homeland that granted them all their rights, and you acknowledged that this was a legitimate claim, just like the Jews’ desire to establish their state in their holy land was.

I was also impressed by your story of transformation. You grew up in a difficult extreme religious group. I do not believe that this group was spreading hatred. I don’t believe they were evil. But I liked the fact that you managed to transform yourself to a place that is more balanced.

This is why, in my opinion, the two communities should merge over time into one state in which all are equal, a state which takes into account the historical right of the Jews to their places of sanctity, because I and some others strongly believe that the Jewish holy sanctuary, Jerusalem, is the property of the Jews, and we know very well that the city of Jerusalem was never a holy city for Islam, and the holiest city for Muslims is the city of Mecca. Indeed, Islamic religious groups have continued to promote the idea that Jerusalem is a holy city in Islam but today a new generation of Arab youth has emerged, a generation of minds that research and do not allow themselves to be brainwashed easily.

We have to remember that hatred and the desire to destroy the other is a waste of time, and no side will triumph in the end, because none is able to destroy the other.

On the other hand, loving each other and building bridges between us can create a better life for us and for future generations.

On behalf of the Yemeni youth who share my opinions, I would like to thank you for your wonderful book and your fruitful attempts at dialogue and building bridges of communication between the two communities.

With Love and Regards

Ahmed Sa’eed from Yemen  


To read Yossi’s response check this link