‘We shall not hate, we shall ‘repair the world’

Ada Aharoni …free of vindictiveness

Both suffered personal tragedy, yet neither wanted revenge. In fact, they wanted to use the untimely loss of a loved one for ‘tikkun olam‘ – ‘repairing the world’. This is the message Professor Shmuel Moreh attempts to convey in the online Arabic magazine Elaph. His article of 11 May 2011 – summarised below – draws a comparison between Egyptian-born poet and professor Ada Aharoni, whose father died suddenly after the family’s flight and dispossession, and Ruth and Judea Pearl, whose son Daniel was cruelly beheaded in Pakistan.

Born in Egypt in 1933, the poet, writer, researcher and translator Professor Ada Aharoni in her youth belonged to a Zionist youth group. She wrote many books describing her longing for Egypt. Yet she is remarkably free of vindictiveness: her father who had French citizenship, was deported by the Egyptian authorities (1949) to France after arbitrary laws were enacted against Jewish rights in Egypt in 1948. When he reached France, he realized that the family’s savings deposited in a Swiss bank in Cairo has been confiscated by the Egyptian authorities. As a result, he suffered a stroke that led to his death.

His daughter Ada had no choice but to immigrate to Israel. She harbours no desire for revenge. Joining her husband in 1950 as a member of left-wing Kibbutz Ein Shemer, she left with 20 other Jews from Egypt because, she says, they were determined to maintain friendly relations with Arabs.In 1999 she founded the Association of peace between Palestinian Arabs and Jews in Arab countries : both sides had suffered enough and were the victims of a long and bloody struggle. The Israel – Egypt Friendship Association, headed by Levana Zamir, born in Cairo in 1938, also strives for these goals. It is hoped that their literary and cultural activities will resume in the wake of the revolution driven by Egyptian youth.
The noble behaviour of Prof. Ada Aharoni, who refused to avenge her father’s death, is similar to the behavior the parents of the Jewish-American journalist Daniel Pearl. His mother Ruth was born in Baghdad, and his father Judea Pearl was born in Tel Aviv. Daniel’s parents did not ask to take revenge on the Taliban in Pakistan when they beheaded their son with a despicable and treacherous blow, because he admitted frankly and with pride:” I’m Jewish, my mother was Jewish, and my father was Jewish. “ His mother would have had lullabies sung to her in Baghdad in the Arabic language. Did these criminals think they were serving Islam and the Muslim nation when they offered a live human sacrifice on the altar of hatred, shouting “Allah Akbar” (Allah is great! ) – contrary to all laws, religions and customs.

But his parents did not ask the American government to avenge the brutal murder of their son. They believed in tikkun olam: ‘the Jew must work to repair the world and be an example to others’. They declared a memorial day on the anniversary of his execution, and preserve his memory with a global musical celebration to spread the idea of ​​brotherhood and peace among religions and peoples.


Read phonetically


  • Thank you for publishing this moving piece on forgiveness, lack of vindictiveness, and using our pain to create peace and harmony.
    I am grateful to Prof. Moreh who has kindly linked my work for peace at "IFLAC: The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace," with the wonderful work of the Pearl Foundation to commemorate the life and cruel and untimely death of Daniel Pearl. May all our common efforts lead to peace between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors soon.
    Ada Aharoni
    IFLAC Founding President

  • They say that the Arabs overcame the fear barrier and this is what made the "revolutions" possible.
    We didn't break our own fear barrier yet which in our case is the result of that pathology called dhimmitude.
    Call me cynical, but this is what I think is behind those noble sentiments. Ada Aharoni and Daniel Pearl's Baghdadi mother are reacting with kindness because they haven't overcome their fear. They would be physically and mentally incapable of throwing a fit of rage and confronting an assembly of Egyptians or Islamists. The day they and others can do that then the healing process will begin.
    Incidentally, I heard Ada Aharoni once on Israel radio. Her account of how her father came out of the bank after learning that they were penniless in a foreign country and having that stroke right outside that bank was heartbreaking.


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