A group of students from the Derech Avot High School of Ohr Torah Stone educational network in Efrat decided to deviate from their previously scheduled itinerary on a yearly outing to make a condolence visit to the home of Yazan Falah, the Israeli Druze Border Police officer killed in the terror attack in Hadera on Sunday.
As the group of 10th-graders headed north for an annual tour, they approached the village of Kasra-Samia, where Falah had lived, and decided to pay respects to the family. While initially, the idea was to send just a few student representatives into the home, as they got closer, all 80 boys expressed interest in being part of the visit.
The school’s principal, Yoni Hollander, agreed, and soon afterwards, they were greeted warmly by the Falah family.
“As Jews, our presence here in this land has always been alongside others, and we have a particular bond in modern times with the Druze people,” he said. “Sadly, this is a bond too often written in blood, but our joint prayer is that it will soon become one of peace.”
Yazan’s uncle, Amal Falach, addressed the students in the courtyard of the family home saying: “There is no doubt that through mourning we are more united, and we are all partners in this national pain. Our hearts are broken, and I am sure that you students are now feeling a part of that pain. The fact that you chose to divert from your planned trip and insisted on coming to mourn and strengthen us is not something anyone could take for granted.”
“Moreover, it proves how in your youth, you already feel this sense of unity and empathy that exists between us,” he said. “We all live in the same place, the same state, and we have nowhere else to go. We have no other country; we are all destined for that same fate as partners in life.”
Benyamin Gottlieb, one of the Derech Avot students, said it was an extremely emotional visit.
“When Yazan’s uncle spoke, we saw the tears in his eyes, and we were able to truly feel his pain,” said the 16-year-old. “At the same time, we felt a sense of happiness that they could better understand the level of support they were getting from the Jewish people. While this experience left us feeling sad, we were exposed to how another religion mourns and were blessed to be welcomed into their home. For a few brief moments, we were able to be a part of one extended family.”