The girls’ parents have been brought into the fold as well. Romy’s parents attend many of the PeacePlayers events that she attends, as do Malak’s father and Mayar’s mother. Through PPI, the girls’ parents’ have become friendly as well.
Malak, Mayar and Romy’s conversations are a mix of Hebrew and Arabic. Romy only speaks Hebrew; Mayar only speaks Arabic; and Malak, a student at the Hand-in-Hand School for Bilingual education, speaks Hebrew and Arabic and helps both of the other girls understand each other.
Recently, Romy invited Malak and Mayar hang out with her in Herzliya. Malak and Mayar were excited to make the trip from East Jerusalem. The girls hung out on the beach and ate dinner with Romy’s family. Of course, they also played basketball: The three musketeers headed over to the Herzliya Sportech (where we recently held our Spring Tournament), where they met up with some of Romy’s friends and played around on the court.It’s definitely common at PPI for Palestinian and Israeli kids to become friends. They pal around at events and they’re active on each others’ facebook pages. There still are challenges, however, in bringing them together outside of the comfortable sphere of our activities. Safety issues, community pressures and economic difficulties (i.e., many parents don’t have a car) are among the challenges. Malak, Mayar and Romy’s friendship has risen above those challenges. They do not see each other through the prism of the conflict between each others’ ethnic groups. They see each others as people, plain and simple.