By Matt Hanna - July 5, 2016

Originally appeared here in the Jerusalem Journal

Dear Rena and Amichai Ariel,

I’m writing to you with deep sorrow in my heart. I try to imagine your loss from the brutal murder of your lovely daughter, and I cannot. As a Palestinian Christian who grew up in Gaza, I can tell you that my heart is broken and I mourn with you the loss of lovely Hallel.

One thing that makes my heart ache is knowing how I used to think and feel only a few years ago. Growing up, I was filled with hate for Jews. In my earliest years and all through high school, I learned to see Jews as evil characters, like villains in a comic book or monsters in a movie. My teachers said that Jews want to kill us all and that they stole our fathers’ native lands. They said that Jews have no history here and are illegal occupiers.

I don’t know why, but one day I opened a Bible and began to read it for myself. Read More