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“Jerusalem is like the sea and I am like the fish. Everybody from Jerusalem is like this. If we go out, we can’t survive. We belong here.”

Samir al Jundi is a Palestinian Muslim shopkeeper in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City whose business selling souvenir items to tourists has been nearly ruined by the decrease in tourism as a result of the second Intifada. Samir began his career as a “trading man” when he was a child of nine after the 1967 war. He supported his family by selling gum in the streets of the Old City after their house in the Jewish Quarter was demolished. He never stopped selling and as an adult, he built up a successful business. Since the beginning of the Intifada he has changed his business from selling souvenirs to selling baby clothes and underwear to local people.

'Jerusalem is my favorite place in the entire world and the hardest place in the world to be.'

Michael Simon is an American Jew who came to Jerusalem in the summer of 2001 with a Fellowship to pursue Jewish studies and volunteer in an Israeli organization. Soon after arriving, Michael met and fell in love with Marla Bennett, another American Jew who was studying to become a Jewish educator. By July of 2002, they were on the verge of becoming engaged. Tragically, Marla was killed in the bombing attack at Hebrew University on July 31, 2002. Michael tells the story of his relationship with Marla, the disaster he experienced and his struggle to come to terms with her death and rebuild his life in Jerusalem.

“When you see the huge walls that have remained through so many difficult times and good times, you see that, despite everything, Jerusalem remains.”

Lana Abu Hijleh is a Palestinian Muslim UN Worker living in East Jerusalem whose mother was killed in October, 2002. Lana was participating in a hopeful meeting on economic development in the Middle East when she learned that her mother had been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers in Nablus. Lana shares the anguish of this tragedy and the desire for revenge that she and her brothers all felt in response. She tells the story of her father’s insistence that the family work for justice through legal means and how she and her brothers have subsequently committed themselves to working through the legal system to expose the soldiers who killed their mother.

“I am happy that I probably will not have to do service in Jerusalem itself. I have chosen this. Jerusalem is filled with faces that I know.”

Emmanuel Stein is an Israeli Jew who was interviewed the day before he was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces. He chose a combat unit because he wanted to be the one to interpret commands dealing with Palestinians as humanely as possible. Previously, he had been the president of the Jerusalem branch of the youth movement of Meretz, a left wing Israeli Jewish political party. Through his work with Meretz Youth, Emmanuel participated in and organized many coexistence activities between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews as well as activities to support the rights of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

Huda Ibrahim is a Palestinian Muslim woman who sells olive oil and fruit on the street near Damascus Gate. She travels into Jerusalem several times per week from Beit Annan, a village in the West Bank.
Shimon Levy is an Iraqi born Israeli Jew who has managed a convenience store in West Jerusalem for 25 years.

Ruba Huleihel (left) and Alina Shkolnikov (right) are Seeds of Peace participants who are friends. Ruba is an Israeli Arab Muslim and Alina is an Israeli Jew originally from Ukraine.

Father Yazeed Said is a Palestinian Anglican Priest working at St. George’s Cathedral in East Jerusalem.
The Women’s Tehillim (Psalms) Group, a group of Orthodox Jewish Israeli women, has been meeting every Thursday since Fall, 2000, to say Tehillim (Psalms) together in support of victims or terror, the Jewish people and the state of Israel.  
Miral Nashishibi is a Palestinian Muslim woman who ran her own printing company in Jerusalem until the Fall of 2003. She and her family have chosen to leave the country because of the difficulty of the situation.
Aliza Mizrachi is an Israeli Jewish woman from Mea Sharim. Her nephew, Alon Mizrachi , a security guard at Café Hillel, was killed in the bombing attack in September, 2003
Abed El Salam Abdo is a Palestinian Muslim actor working at the Hakawati Theater in East Jerusalem. He was working on a puppet show about Jerusalem for chlldren when we met with him.
Avraham Tsvi Shav Aretz is a Jewish Israeli and religious scholar. Before the Fall of 2000, he worked as a tour guide. He has lost most of his work in the past three years.

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