[i]TEL AVIV ? Wafaa Younis is a woman whose heart is in the right place; she is an Israeli Arab who has made a real effort to help Palestinian children in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.
She started with the boys; she wanted them to put down their stones and learn the violin, in the hope that they would not grow up and pick up a gun. I first met her three years ago when she finally persuaded the Israelis to allow the Palestinian children to leave the West Bank and go to her home in the Israeli town of Ara for violin lessons.
She even took them on trips to the coast; even though they grew up 30 miles from the Mediterranean, they had never seen the sea. Her first attempts to teach a few boys the violin grew into a small orchestra of boys and girls. She even rented an apartment in Jenin so that she could teach them there, because it was easier for her to cross into the West Bank than it was for them to leave.
Then Younis had an idea; as part of Israel?s annual Good Deeds Week, she would arrange a little concert in Holon, near Tel Aviv. Her young musicians from the “Strings of Freedom” orchestra would entertain Holocaust survivors. They would play their favorite classics, and also some songs of peace; a way to bridge the divide between Palestinians and Israelis…[/i]