THE PARABLE OF THE ICE CREAM
During my career, events once took me to be based in East Jerusalem to work for an international charity eye hospital based there. We cared for the Palestinian community on The West Bank and Gaza. I regularly travelled to these areas.
I had just visited Gaza on one occasion and was on my return to Jerusalem when I passed a National Park site that was a recently excavated biblical township
I decided to give it the once over.
In mid summer, Israel is always a hot place. It has little humidity although the temperature in generally well in the 30’s. I was exhausted after walking round the ruins. I spied a sort of a shop-cum-foodery place and made a beeline for it.
As I walked towards it there was a lad in his early twenties sweeping the path. In this heat this seemed a rather unnecessary activity and I could hardly fail to feel sorry for the poor fellow. We passed the time of day (me in my halting Hebrew) as I made for the shop.
Inside was the classic oasis of the desert. It was cool and they sold Magnum ice creams of all things. As I bought one from the Russian Jewish lady I thought of the poor lad outside. On the spur of the moment I bought one for him too and went outside to give it to him.
I sat in the corner of the sheltered area and thoroughly enjoyed my ice cream. He too munched away his with the same gusto.
When I went in to buy a drink I was interrogated by the Russian lady. Nothing like this had happened before in her years in Israel she said. No one had ever bought the Arab lad an ice cream. I told her that to me he was simply someone getting very hot indeed and seemed to deserve one for his efforts.
The Russian lady agreed with me and insisted that the shop buy me lunch (modest) for my efforts and invited the Arab lad to join us – a first since she had worked there for over 10 years.
So the Arab the Jew and the Christian sat down to have a sandwich together and talked about how they might each contribute to better times. It was a first for a number of them.
Oh! That life was so easy!