Searching for Solutions: Help Google’s Featured Jerusalem Peacemaker Ibrahim Abu El Hawa

I was just sitting down to a 90 second video distraction before I began my social media night-shift here in the Holy City of Jerusalem and you wont believe what happened! I was watching the Google’s Year In Search 2014 video, curious to see what Google curated for the collective zeitgeist of 2014, and 40 seconds in I saw this photo:

Screenshot 2014-12-29 at 9.02.51 PM

Talk about a glocal (global/local) experience! I create/curate Israel content for Voice of Israel. I have seen this image so many times! The two people hugging are Ibrahim Abu El Hawa (on the right) of the Jerusalem Peacemakers and Rabbi Yaakov Nagen a teacher in Otniel yeshiva near Hebron. The photo was taken at the Jerusalem Hug which is organized by Eliyahu McLean Ibrahim’s partner in the Jerusalem Peacemakers group. Every year for the Jerusalem Hug thousands of  people, Jews, Muslims and Christians, peoples of every belief and stripe, gather around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem to celebrate unity, peace and to hug the sacred walls Jerusalem. Unfortunately  positive news coming out of Jerusalem often doesn’t make the NY Times, so I am grateful Google gave it this nod. If we can make peace here in the Holy City, world peace is right around the corner.

Google sandwiched Ibrahim’s picture  between a tile telling us that “we search to make sense”, and a picture of Michelle Obama calling for the world to #bringbackourgirls. Ibrahim is a champion for peace, he risks his life every day to advocate for peace. Ibrahim is is one of those people whom if there were more of in the world, the world would make a lot more sense. I met Ibrahim this past July during a fast for peace between Muslim’s and Jews here in Jerusalem. But I never expected my little micro world of these peacemakers to get macroscopic on Google’s year in review video (holding at over 9 million views).

So why am I writing about this? Because RIGHT NOW there is an Indiegogo campaign to help Ibrahim out! What the macro world of YouTube doesn’t know is that Ibrahim is in trouble. Because of the crazy zoning wars/laws of Jerusalem, illegal building is a common practice throughout the city. Very often builders will ask for forgiveness after building rather than ask for a permit to build.  Forgiveness can sometimes come with a fine and for better or for worse the Jerusalem municipality put the hammer down on Ibrahim and he was slapped with a 300,000 NIS fine after he illegally expanded his house. He had until today to pay 30,000 (about 7650 USD) or face three years in prison and thank God at the writing of this blog the campaign has tipped and is now holding at $9,087 which is over it’s goal of $8,000.

That is great news. Unfortunately Ibrahim still needs help. Unless the Jerusalem municipality drops the charges Ibrahim will have to pay a monthly fine of over $1,000 a month until 2018. At the writing of this blog there are about 2 days left to the Indiegogo campaign and Ibrahim still needs a lot of help. Please donate now. If you are reading this after the campaign is over (starting Jan. 1) please donate to the Peace for Ibrahim campaign.  Google thinks Ibrahim’s work is important enough to put in front of over 9 million people and counting, because people are are searching for what ‘makes sense’. So please help the world make more sense and help Ibrahim .

2 thoughts on “Searching for Solutions: Help Google’s Featured Jerusalem Peacemaker Ibrahim Abu El Hawa

  1. I am very honoured that I am the author of this image. Apparently the story of this image have so much strength that the world is impressed about these two beautiful men. It gives hope. Somehow the organizers of Google Zeitgeist campaign did find me and they ask to use the picture in their campaign. I hope in future there comes a time when the people say: How Ibrahim and Yakov changed the Middle East…………..

    1. Wow Dida, it’s an honor to meet you. This is an amazing photo. Can you send the organizers of Google a link to this blog? It could be a big help to Ibrahim if they were to share it.

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