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Story pick: Roommates from Israel and Gaza

What caught my eye as I perused the newspaper Thursday morning was the elevator music.

Glenn Kessler, writing about two young women,Noam Rabinovich and Mariam Ashour, one Israeli, one Palestinian, who have spent the summer in Washington as roommates, quotes one as saying that the violence in the region has become so commonplace that she began not to notice it. "It's like elevator music."

He writes of their lives:

In the Middle East, their childhood homes are only 30 miles apart, but they might as well have grown up on different continents. For 20-year-old Ashour, whose family lives in Gaza, Rabinovich is the first Israeli to whom she has ever spoken who wasn't standing at a checkpoint or holding a gun.

Rabinovich, 26, spent nearly three years in the Israel Defense Forces, becoming an officer who commanded two mobile radar units on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip. She looked at Ashour: "My job was to make sure no one from your side comes to my side."

There have been programs like this one, New Story for Leadership in the Middle East, before, bringing together youths from different sides of conflicts. Stories have been written and documentaries have been filmed about how difficult it is to bridge the chasm of culture, religion, war and politics even at a young age. Kessler's is another in that tradition, an instructive reminder of how difficult it is to make real and lasting change and how making peace -- the goal of the program he's writing about -- takes far more than just giving it a chance.

By Brigid Schulte  | August 13, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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Comments

Another very nice and heart felt relationship between an Israeli and a Palestinian. It is too bad that both peoples can not interact more freely in their respective environments. The risks would be high, but eventually the mutual benefits will have to be higher if there is ever going to be peace between them. Perhaps current and future leaders of the parties will interact as well.

Posted by: sssallie51 | August 14, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

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