- Easy to get
- No charger
- Left handed use only
- Supports only Apple products
- Low storage
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Speaking with Syrian refugee Aboud Dandachi on Skype from my home in Jerusalem, it is difficult to ignore the contrast between my life and the difficult journey and experience he has undergone since the outbreak of the civil war in his home country.
After government forces began shelling his neighborhood in September 2013, the 39-year old Sunni Muslim high-tech professional left his birthplace, Homs, for Lebanon and made his way to Istanbul, Turkey. He never imagined the civil war in Syria would last as long as it has. Five years into the war and based on his own personal experiences, Dandachi, has reached one clear conclusion, –that Israel is not at all the “Great Satan” he was brought up believing. Quite the opposite, in fact. In December 2015, after witnessing first-hand Israeli assistance toward Syrians fleeing the war, he created a website and launched an online campaign “in appreciation of the assistance given to Syrian refugees by Israeli and Jewish organizations and individuals.”
Dandachi’s website tells the tales of Jews and Israelis who have helped and who continue to help the Syrian people. “There are so many stories that I want to put up,” he says.
A friendly conversation between a Syrian and Israeli should not be taken for granted, as a decade ago, this would have been unheard of. “There are new stories of Israelis helping Syrians every day. As far as I’m concerned, because we as Syrians cannot give back to Jews what they give to us, we should at least thank them.” When I asked him what his family and friends think about what he is doing, he answers, “Things are very tense.” Amongst the many things we discussed Dandachi described the extent to which his opinion of Israel and Israelis has changed. He told me how during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, he celebrated Hezbollah attacks, hoping that each rocket they fired toward Israel would inflict as much damage as possible.
In one article on his website he posts a report covering the aid work of NATAN, an Israeli
humanitarian aid NGO, providing aid and medical assistance to refugees crossing the Serbia Macedonia border. “Several things stand out from reading the piece,” Dandachi writes, “In the several days that the writer, Amir Tibon, was at the field clinic, he counted no less than 30 babies, 10 pregnant women, seven people in wheelchairs, three patients suffering from diabetes, one blind person and two individuals who had lost limbs. These truly are among the most needy and desperate individuals to flee the Middle East, and there is no overstating the importance of the medical assistance that the Israeli medical staff provided these refugees,” says Dandachi.
“As a Syrian, I am morally obligated to ensure that the goodwill that Israelis and Jews have displayed towards my people will not be overlooked nor forgotten. The day will come when the conflict in Syria will come to an end, as all things come to an end. On that day, it is imperative that Syrians reciprocate the enormous goodwill shown towards us by Israelis and the Jewish people. Whatever supposed reasons we may have had to be adversaries is dwarfed by the compassion shown to us during our darkest days, a time when we have nothing to give back except our gratitude.”
“I grew up hearing statements such as ‘These people are your enemies. The Jews are evil.’ And then I saw that the Jews and Israeli’s are the most humane and generous people of this era.”