Reprinted with Permission by Christian Peacemaker Teams
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Let us try to imagine Veronica as she steps out from the jeering, mocking crowd. Was she afraid as she walked past the hostile, armed soldiers? It was not appropriate for her, as a woman, to touch a man, but Veronica refused to be constrained by social norms. She saw the suffering, bleeding Christ, and she was moved by compassion and mercy to step forward.
In the 15th century many Jewish and Muslim families fled Christian persecution in Spain, and came to build a new life together in Hebron. For hundreds of years, until 1929, these families lived together in harmonious co-existence.
In 1929 Muslim rioters attacked and killed 67 Jews in Hebron (and wounding many others). Although most people chose to either participate in the riots or simply stand by and watch, some Muslim families sheltered and saved hundreds of their Jewish neighbors.
Just across from the CPT apartment, in a building now evacuated and requisitioned by the Israeli military, the Muslim Shaheen family saved their Jewish neighbors, the Mizrahi family.
Rioters were at the door, sure that there were Jews in the house. The Hajji (elder woman of the family) went to the roof of her home, tore off her veil, and tore her clothes (a shameful act in Islam), swearing to those below that all who were in the house were her family. The rioters, horrified to be the cause of dishonor to such an old, respected woman, left the area. The Mizrahis were saved.
In the face of such violence and hatred, Veronica and the Hajji refused to stand silently by.