Common Roots

Among all the countless tragedies and losses of this current war is the blow that has been dealt to the already fragile relationships between Jews and Arabs in Israel.  Even in the best of times, suspicion and distrust have been the default sentiments among most Israeli citizens about their “other” counterparts.  And it is against this background that I have, for years, been trying to present a more open-hearted alternative.

Crossing the cultural divide and finding a place in the lives of Palestinians, Druze and Bedouins living in Israel has been one of the most important and transformative efforts of my life – that makes me feel like there is some reason why I am living in this problematic country, instead of in the comfort of the United States.

From these acquaintances and friendships, I have come to understand and appreciate how genuinely connected these people are to this place – whose history and culture – particularly their culinary traditions, which stand out most to me – are rooted in this land.  This is where I find our common roots – because as foreign and religiously unaffiliated as I am,  I do feel a tremendous spiritual connection with this land that I can only explain as originating somewhere deep in my genetic makeup.

This common connection to the land, in fact, is what makes me feel, for example,  that my Palestinian friend Balkees and I are like sisters – that our roots are intertwined somewhere deep in ancient history.

The grapes, wheat and olives of this land grow out of earth that has been steeped in blood.  Yet for every pursuer of war, I am convinced that there are a hundred that would embrace peace with both hands if it was offered to them – no matter what side of the divide.  I pray that the day will soon come that that will happen.

cleaning sesame seeds

cleaning locally grown sesame seeds


  1. Steven Bauer says:

    Oh Abbie,

    Your post made me weep. How good of you and how brave, at such a dreadful time, to be writing as you are writing. The tragedy of this war knows no limits and it seems as though the damage that is being done is being handed down again and again to generation after generation. Where are these hundreds of hands who would embrace peace and why cannot a two-state solution be found? As you write, ” > > From these acquaintances and friendships, I have come to understand and appreciate how genuinely connected these people are to this place > and it is because of this that those who suggest that one side or the other should go are so blasphemous and so wrong.

    I hope that this finds you well, and that you are finding ways to shoulder through this newest horror.

    Very best,


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    • Abbie Rosner says:

      Not brave at all – just giving expression to my aching heart. Thanks for your words of support.

  2. Hi Abbie

    Amen and, again, amen. We have to keep working at it, as it will not happen by itself, there is so little trust left, and it is so easy to give up hope at a time like this.

    Thank you for your wonderful posts.


  3. Sy Rotter says:

    Thanks Abbie for reminding your readers of the common but special relationships that exist among those of both sides who yearn for opportunities to break bread rather than heads. With your encouragement and hopefully that of Balkees the ways will be found or created! Love, Dad

  4. Zev Labinger says:

    Amen sela!! When I saw your title of the post I thought of different roots of plants that are edible… ie common roots… maybe a new book…!

  5. A beautiful heartfelt and wrenching piece…. swords into plowshares…. bile into bread…. amen.

  6. I am now just catching up on blogs-thank you so much for the above post.
    I will be in Israel sometime this winter to visit grandchildren-are you ever available for a visit? do you yourself do any food or agricultural tours?

  7. Abbie Rosner says:

    I would be happy to meet you. You can contact me at and we can arrange it. Thanks for your interest!