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(Edited)

In what seems to be an endless war, many around the world, via mainstream media and social media, have heard about the recent developments between Israeli and Palestinian relations. This only touches on the turmoil that has somehow escaped mainstream media for several years. Some call it an apartheid. All too often, children and teens have become of the targets - and the victims.

In mid-June, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and slain, reportedly by a terrorist group. The victims were Naftali Fraenkel, 16,  Gil-Ad Shaer, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19.

During the first week of July, in what looks to be a 'revenge' killing, a 16-year old Palestinian teen, Muhammad Abu Khdeir was abducted and burned alive.

As a parent, how do you get through something like this? In a time when hatred prevails, sometimes love and the true human spirit emerge.  Huffington Post relayed:

Over the weekend Jerusalem mayor Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited Rachel Fraenkel, the mother of slain Israeli teen Naftali, and during his visit Barkat spoke with Hussein Abu Khdeir, Mohammed's father, over the telephone. Barkat suggested Abu Khdeir speak with Yishai Fraenkel, Naftali's uncle, and the two men agreed.

“We expressed our deep empathy with their sorrow, from one bereaved family to another bereaved family,” Yishai Fraenkel reportedly said. “I think it’s very good they seem to have found the culprits. We expressed our absolute disgust with what had happened. He accepted our statements, it was important for him to hear it.”

Barkat relayed the experience on Facebook, saying that he had witnessed an “emotional and special telephone conversation between two families that have lost their sons.”

The image below is being posted throughout social media as a 'meme'. The meme's text gives the impression that these two men in the photo are the aforementioned grieving family members, which is not the case.

Here is the meme:

After first seeing the meme, I was so moved, I posted it here. I didn't expect it to get much reaction, but it did. Still being fascinated by the photo, I did further research, and came to find this particular image was published in 2013 from the 'The Jerusalem Hug' peace movement. It's a powerful photo and when I first saw it along with the meme text, I choked up. From comments here and throughout Facebook and Twitter, my reaction was common.  

Whether one comes to believe these two men are grieving their own children, or grieving a war that has killed children for decades and decades, it's powerful. And if it makes people feel empathy and perhaps a sliver of the crushing pain the parents must be going through, that cannot be a bad thing. That is why I left this photo and diary up. I've always believed the first step to solving any problem is awareness. Perhaps by this the meme circulating social media, it will ultimately bring awareness to the increased tension and war crimes that exist between these two countries today. Meanwhile, sympathy and prayers for the families are also circulating social media. And that can only be a good thing.

Here is the original photo:
Photo: Rabbi Dr. Yakov Nagen and Sheik Ibrahim Abu-el Hawa/'The Jerusalem Hug'

Originally posted to Leslie Salzillo on Mon Jul 07, 2014 at 05:11 PM PDT.

Also republished by Positive Intention and Lovingkindness and Street Prophets .

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