Sharing Grief: Lists of Israeli & Palestinian Dead
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director The Shalom Center

Dear Friends,

As the blood rains down, I recall that we are taught (Genesis 25: 9-11) that Abraham's sons Isaac and Ishmael came together to bury him.  It is only in this passage that they are named together as "Abraham's sons," as if to teach us that they became truly his sons only by joining in their grief.  Only after that were they able to live face to face with each other (Gen. 25: 18).

I suggest that where possible, Jewish and Arab groups (in the US or elsewhere) arrange for public ceremonies of grief and mourning for BOTH those Israeli Jews and those Palestinians who have been killed by violence from the other side in the current conflict.

The mourning could include the recitation of the names of those who have been killed.  (See below for where to find these names.)

Where joint ceremonies cannot be arranged, I suggest that Jewish groups express publicly their grief at all these deaths, and that Arab groups do the same, separately.

I am NOT suggesting that the decision of one group to do this be made conditional on the decision of the other.  There should be an authentic sense of grief over these deaths that does not depend on anyone else's willingness to express that grief.

Such ceremonies might draw on the religious traditions of those involved.

For Jews, for example, it might be connected with Tisha B'Av, the memorial day for the Destruction of the Temple (this year falling on Saturday night-Sunday July 28-29), where it is made clear that in oiur generation the Temple that is being destroyed is not "ours" but the Image of God in every human being and the special shared inheritance of the families of Abraham.

Another possibility might be the time of the Martyrology on Yom Kippur, or as part of observing Sukkot by erecting a public "Sukkat Shalom," a Sukkah of Peace, on Sunday October 6.

But such recitations need not wait for these special occasions; they could be done whenever a group chooses to express its grief.

A Mourners Kaddish could be expanded by including in its last two paragraphs, after "v'al kol Yisrael," the phrase "v'al kol Yishmael."

There are several Websites with lists of Israeli Jews and of Palestinians (West Bank, Gaza, & Israeli citizens) killed by hostile violence since late September 2000:

Here's an up-to-date chronological list of Israeli dead:

Official Israeli Government website

This chronological list of Palestinian dead runs only until March 31, 2001:

Palestine Affairs Council website

Here are lists of the dead on both sides, categorized according to their status, the status of those who killed them, and place of death.  The Palestinian citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations in October are not included:

B'tselem [The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories].  When you get to this site, click on "Current Intifada" and then on "Statistics."

As of May 20, 2001, these lists at Btselem went up to May 9, 2001.

The October deaths of Palestinian-origin citizens of Israel are listed at:

Adalah [Justice].

With blessings for shalom, Arthur

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director The Shalom Center