By Dr Sarah Bernstein, Associate Director, ICCI
The heart-breaking tragedy of the Palestinian school bus that overturned and burst into flames last week after a crash with a lorry that swerved on the wet road and hit it head on, was greeted by a mixture of reactions on all sides. While some swung into action in order to save as many lives as possible, others chose to cast blame or try to make political capital and a rabid few apparently responded with despicable internet postings. Be that as it may, the vast majority on all sides were shocked and distressed at the deaths of small children.
On Friday morning I met with a group of Israeli and Palestinian women who are working on a theater project, one of the ongoing projects that have grown out of ICCI’s women’s dialogue program. Our conversation naturally swung to the terrible accident, and one of the women suggested that we visit the bereaved families or those with children injured in the crash. The women quickly swung into action – creating a card in three languages, buying small soft toys for the children, using their connections to find out where the children are and what their situation is. Yesterday morning a group of six of us, Jews, Christians and Muslims, went to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital on behalf of all the women to visit the families of the children and one of the teachers. We heard heart-wrenching stories and tried to offer meagre words of comfort, and to offer a sense of support and solidarity.