Two Syrian brides crossed Israel's northern border to meet their grooms Thursday despite the unrest in their homeland. The two young women arrived the Quneitra crossing in the Golan Heights, accompanied across the U.N. buffer zone by United Nations peacekeeping forces.
The arrival came after a nine-year struggle to be able to immigrate to Israel and marry the men to whom they became betrothed several years ago.Deputy Minister for Development in the Galilee and Negev, Ayoub Kara, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) facilitated the transfer.
This is not the first time that Syrians have crossed into Israel for such purposes, or others, for that matter. Many Israeli Druze in the Golan Heights have relatives living across the border in Syria. A similar happy occasion took place this past January, when another Syrian bride likewise crossed the checkpoint to marry her betrothed. The couple lives in the Israeli Druze village of Buqata in the Golan Heights.
In the past, the Jerusalem government has allowed Druze students to go to study across the border despite the absence of a peace treaty. Israeli Druze farmers in the north also export their apple crops to Syria each year, trucking the produce through the Quneitra crossing.
The brides' husbands-to-be, Rabia Abu Sallah, and Munjad Awwad, await them. Both are Israeli Druze residents of the village of Majdal Shaams.Accompanied by their family members, the two young men thanked Kara for his efforts and for “the best [Eid al-Adha] holiday gift imaginable,” as Abu Sallah explained.
The holiday, which begins at sunset this Sunday, November 6, ends 24 hours later and is considered an important event in the Islamic calendar. It commemorates the Muslim account of the willingness of the Biblical patriarch Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to G-d, which mirrors the Jewish Biblical recounting of the patriarch's near-sacrifice of his son Isaac (Yitzchak). In both accounts, an angel of G-d intervened at the last moment, preventing the slaughter and instead providing a ram caught in a thicket to be used instead.