Israelis and Iranians bombard each other - with love: Iranians jump aboard Tel Aviv couple´s antiwar bandwagon (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Roy Arad 03/22/12)
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A week ago, fear and hatred seemed to dominate the Middle East. Then,
a simple online call for peace turned those sentiments upside down -
at least briefly.
The trigger was the Facebook message two Israelis sent to Iranians
last Thursday: "We will never bomb your country. We love you." Since
then, the website has been swamped with mutual expressions of love
and admiration between Israelis and Iranians.
Launched by Roni Edry and his wife Michal Tamir, the initiative was
enthusiastically received around the world. It appeared as the main
news item on CNN´s website and Al Jazeera. The New York Times and the
Washington Post reported about it at length, as did media from Sweden
The couple, who runs a small preparatory school for graphic design
called Pushpin Mehina, now devote most of their time to their private
peace enterprise. They and six friends work shifts in what they call
the "situation room," going over hundreds of daily messages from
Iranians and posting them on Facebook.
"You want to cry when you read them," says Tamir, trying to put her
crying baby to sleep, while her husband is talking to another
"A little girl who sent us a message that in her school they forced
her to trample on Israel´s flag. Then when she saw Roni and our
daughter it was very difficult for her...Iranians see our page and
break down with excitement. They always thought we hated them. The
power of this initiative is that it bypasses governments," she says.
An Iranian landscape architect named Majid began an equivalent
Iranian initiative, opening a Facebook page called "Iran loves
Israel." He says he heard about the Israeli page on a free radio
station broadcasting to Iran from Prague, and immediately joined in.
"The responses to the page were extraordinary," says Majid, 34, a
father of two. "Don´t forget the Internet in Iran is blocked and it´s
very difficult to surf. I had no reason to think the Israelis were
bad people, but in recent days I´ve found them to be very civilized,"
Shaidi Shahin, a young Iranian living in India, filled her Facebook
page with expressions of love for Israel. "When I read what the
Israeli couple had written," she writes to me, "I started crying."
Michael, an oil engineer from Shiraz, says "it´s not a political
issue. We only say we like each other, because we have no reason to
hate. I´ve never met an Israeli. But when I found that the value of
life in Israel is like in Iran, I realized these were good people."
"We´re not naive. It´s not like the world will change if we say ´I
love you,´" says Tamir. "We´re all afraid, but we want to stop a
second before it´s too late. Can we prevent war? Who knows?" (©
Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 03/22/12)
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