JERUSALEM, Israel – Peace often begins with a small act of kindness. While the media tends to focus on conflict in the Middle East in general and the Jewish–Arab conflict in particular, the story of two Israeli Arab plumbers has broken through the noise to shine as an example of humanity rising above the headlines.
The Times of Israel reports that two Arab-Israeli plumbers refused to charge an elderly Jewish woman for their services after they discovered she is had survived the Holocaust some 75 years ago.
Plumbers Simon and Salim Matari were responded to a service call to fix a big leak in the home of Rosa Meir in Israel’s third-largest city of Haifa.
“When we got there, we saw there was a large blast of water and we started fixing it,” Simon told Israel’s Channel 12 News. “At some stage, while working, my brother Salim started to talk to Rosa about her life. She told us she’s 95, a Holocaust survivor, and that she has a daughter.”
“Her life story touched my heart. At that moment, I decided I won’t take a cent from her,” he continued.
In an act of kindness, the plumbers decided to waive the 1,000 NIS ($285) fee for the repair. Instead, they wrote a special message on the bill reading: Holocaust survivor, may you have health until 120, from Matari Simon and Matari Salim,” adding that the cost of the service was “0 shekels.”
Israel’s Channel 12 reports that the kindest left Rosa in tears.
“The brothers really surprised me,” she said. “It was so moving and uplifting, and I thanked them a lot.”
Simon Matari said they did it “from their hearts.”
He also left her a parting gift, promising to come fix anything else for free.
Israeli citizens, including Jews, Muslims and Christians, responded with praise on social media. Perhaps peace isn’t so unattainable after all.