Asalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatu Allah wa Barakatu (Peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you),

Thank you so much for your warm wishes to the people of Iraq. I believe that these wishes come straight from your heart and your kindness. 

This book is a serious step towards bringing Arabs and Jews together. We are cousins and we’re both descendants of our great grandfather Ibrahim, peace be upon him, so love between us should prevail, not hatred. 

I am an Iraqi woman and Jews lived in Iraq for 2000 years. We lived together for a long period of time and I remember the stories that my parents used to tell me about their good relationships with their Jewish friends and neighbors. Unfortunately, the Jews were forced to leave Iraq for certain reasons. 

These days I am following Iraqi Jews’ pages on social media and I weep when I see how they reminisce about Iraq, the Jewish neighborhoods they lived in, the Jewish heritage, art and music and I realize how much they contributed to the Iraqi heritage.

I am no writer, neither am I a critic but what I felt while reading this book, “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor”, was that the writer excelled in presenting the Jewish story. He also managed to shed light on the major events that shaped the Jewish identity in a clear, smooth and interesting way. 

I also felt the writer’s genuine intentions to work towards coexistence between the Jews and their Palestinian neighbors so that everybody would live in peace and the fear will eventually end on both sides.

Nobody can deny the Jewish roots on this land: Jews were here, on this land of Israel, Palestine or however you want to call it, before Jesus was born. Jews were exiled by the Babylonians and were expelled to Iraq, Babel, and to this day there are still many tombs of righteous men from Bnei Israel all over Iraq but some tombs were turned into mosques. 

At the same time, a lot of other peoples lived on this land since ancient times, some of whom emigrated from Arabia and left the desert to live in Egypt, Iraq and the Levantine region. 

I believe that the two-state-solution is the only way to solve this conflict but  this will not be achieved without putting an end to radicalization that spreads a lot of hatred among people. 

We must work on changing the education system and curriculum and teach people love and non-violence, instead of hatred and rage that kids are being brought up on. The way to achieve this is extremely challenging and requires a lot of time and effort because on one hand you have the Salafist mentality, that is deep rooted in so many communities, and on the other hand you have Iran that’s causing a lot of troubles in this region. 

The state of Israel has been a part of the reality of this region for 70 years and is a neighboring country to the Arab countries so peace must prevail between them but first and foremost between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors.

Unfortunately, a significant percentage of Palestinians hold radical views. Over 3,000 Palestinians blew themselves up in Iraq and killed innocent Iraqi civilians but I don’t want to generalize because I believe that the vast majority of the Palestinians are good people who would love to live in peace with their Jewish neighbors, the same way their Jewish neighbors want to live in peace with them. 

I am so grateful to you for inviting me to read this book and I wholeheartedly wish that peace will prevail between the followers of the three Abrahamic religions. 

Wishing you all the best,

Suhair from Iraq

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To read Yossi’s response check this link