This is Yossi’s reply to Iyad from Jordan. To read Iyad’s full response check this link 


Yossi’s response

Dear Iyad,

First, please forgive the long delay in responding to your wonderful letter. I am so grateful to you for having read my book with an open mind, and for your willingness to undergo a process of change. I believe that the highest form of courage is the courage to change. Thank you for being an inspiration.

You’ve given me a great gift: the gift of affirming that my work as a writer has meaning. I tell you without exaggeration that it was worth writing this book if only to get your response.

Now, when I look out at the lights of Jordan (which I can see from my porch), I think of my Jordanian neighbor, Iyad. I feel that even though we haven’t (yet!) met, we are already friends. Certainly neighbors.

You write about the need to dream. The truth is, we are living in a time when dreams are becoming real possibilities. If Israel and the Gulf States can make peace, then perhaps the time is coming when we can begin to dream again about peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

You are right: More than drawing a line on a map, peace is about tearing down walls of hatred. I feel strongly that the main obstacles to peace in this conflict aren’t the tangible issues – borders, settlements, etc – but the intangible issues of history, memory, identity, wounds.

You write about the diversity of religions strengthening our commitment to peace. That reminds me of one of my favorite verses in the      Qur’an: “I made you into families and tribes to know each other.” The Qur’an is celebrating our religious diversity; there is no more important message for our time.

I loved this line in your letter: “It doesn’t need a miracle to happen, especially if both sides understand that they fight each other because they love the land, not because they hate each other.” I feel strongly that both sides need to understand that the other is acting in good faith – keeping faith with their understanding of history and justice. The tragedy of the conflict is that each people is being faithful to its own narrative. I wrote my book with the hope that we could begin listening to each other’s narratives. In the new edition to my book, I end with letters I received from Palestinians. I felt it important to give Palestinians the last word in the book, and to model a respectful disagreement between us. Even if we can’t agree, we can at least learn to listen to each other.

Thank you, Iyad, for listening to my story. I would love to learn more about you. Please tell me something about yourself: work, family?

I send you blessings and an embrace, beloved neighbor –