I read this news report today. You probably missed it as mainstream news media don’t print this sort of news.
“Mourners are streaming to the central Israel city of Tira to comfort the family of a nineteen year old woman killed by ISIS. Lian Zaher Nassser was one of 39 people killed by an ISIS gunman at a New Years celebration at an Istanbul nightclub.
She was laid to rest at a funeral attended by thousands on Tuesday, just over a week after another Israeli woman, Dalia Elyakim, was buried.
Nasser, an Israeli Arab, was on holiday in Istanbul with three friends, one of who(m) was injured. Elyakim, killed in the Christmas market attack in Berlin, had been travelling with her husband Rami, who was badly injured in the attack.
In the Nasser family’s sorrow, it found help from an unexpected source – ultra-orthodox Jews. The parents wanted to get their daughter’s body back to Israel as quickly as possible, but ran into difficulty as she was not insured, and in the end enlisted the help of the Haredi-run rescue organisation, ZAKA. ‘ZAKA is an international humanitarian organisation that honours the dead, regardless of religion, race or gender,’ said the organisation’s chairman Yehudah Meshi-Zahav.”
People react differently to this sort of report. For some the news comes as a salve, a corrective to the bad news tsunami. Others read it and say, ‘Yes, but…’
Working at the Children’s Hospital recently I treated a child who wore a pink hijab. She did not look mid-eastern, nor African. Her surname was unusual. I wondered a bit then hazarded a guess:’Are you from Albania?’ Her dad was amazed. ‘How did you know?’
Then, ‘Where do you come from, Doctor?’
‘Australia. I was made here – with all Australian parts.’
I removed my whimsical hat, exposing my yarmulka.
The father practically whooped with delight:’ You are Jewish! How wonderful!’
Then, ‘Do you know the story of my people and your people during the Second War?’
I admitted I knew it but dimly.
Father filled me in: ‘Albania was one of the few nations to give Jews shelter. We hid them and protected them. And after the War, the Jewish Holocaust Centre here – in this city of Melbourne – honoured my people.
And do you know, Doctor, our mosque was Melbourne’s first?’
Some will read this and feel the salve. Some will react, ‘Yes, but…’