Yoni made national news not only because he is the only British person to have been killed by a suicide bomber in Israel but because his kidney was given to a young 7 year old Palestinian girl. Yoni's mother told of her shock and confusion at this - to give her son's kidney to someone associated with his murder? Very movingly she told of how she was able to transform her heartbreak into a blessing by realising that Yoni in his death was able to give life to this young girl and that she could continue to do the work left undone by his death. This she did by setting up the Yoni Jesner Foundation. What was particularly touching was a short clip from a documentary in which she visits the home of the young girl and two mothers embracing one another with tears. Here were two women from nations at war with one another, Jew and Muslim, forever united in grief and thanksgiving, recognising one another's common pain and feeling solidarity with one another in that pain.
This reminded me of another embrace - that between Phyllis Rodrigues and Aisha el-Wafi. One woman's son was killed at 9/11 and the other one's son arrested for being part of the attack. He has never been brought to trial and his mother does not know whether he is alive or dead - or where he is being kept. Two mothers united in grief, overcoming initial suspicions of one another with a message of hope and a plea for interreligious understanding. Their appearance at a TED women's conference is worth a look.
And a third embrace in the news this week is that of the Pope, the Rabbi and the Imam at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Rabbi Skorka, rector of the Rabbinical Seminary in Buenos Aires and Imam Omar Abboud, the Director of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue in Buenos Aires accompanied the Pope on his visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel. There were many iconic moments during that visit which I 'm sure I'll get back to in the future, but a lasting one for me will be of three friends from different religious traditions hugging one another in that land characterised more by its religious conflict than its acceptance of one another. Pope Francis is showing us, i think, how important friendship is, what a strong witness it can be to others and who knows what seeds it might sow for peace in that troubled land.