Senor Giniyo's wine shop

In June 1967, the Six Day War took place and the city of Jerusalem was reunited as one city.

November 17, 2005 13:50
3 minute read.


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In June 1967, the Six Day War took place and the city of Jerusalem was reunited as one city. Like many people in those days I went to the Old City, which was occupied by Jordan before the war. I wanted to see if something had survived of my grandfather's wine shop, not far from Jaffa Gate. So I went there, looking here and there, when all of a sudden I saw a pavement stone in front of one of the shops with some script on it. I look close - I see letters, Hebrew letters, I see the name of my grandfather: "This is the wine shop of Bechor Shalom Giniyo" in English, Arabic and Hebrew. I look at it with excitement, and then an old Arab approaches me and asks: "Who are you? What are you looking for?" "Well" I say, "Many years ago this shop belonged to my grandfather..." "Who? Senor Giniyo? Welcome! Be my guest! I worked with your grandfather many years, please come to my house, have a cup of coffee." So I went with him. He was nice old guy. He told me a lot of stories about my grandfather, and then I asked him: "Tell me, my friend, you are so friendly, so nice to me. The war has just ended and here we sit like two brothers, a Jew and a Muslim, and drink coffee. When will all this end? When shall we see peace come to this country?" This old man was also a very wise man. He kept silent for a moment, and then he said: "Yes, you are right! It is already time that you the Israelis and we the Arabs will live together in peace. But if you want to hear my answer, I'll put it in a story." And the story that he told me then, I want to tell you now: Jocha was appointed to be judge in Jerusalem. One day, two people came to his court. They had a conflict over land. "Your honor," said one of them, "I want justice! This land is my land, my father's land, my grandfather's land - for many generations. I was absent for some years, and this man took my land and acts as if it is his own land!" "Okay, I heard you." And he turns to the second man: "What do you have to say?" "Well, your honor, what can I say? Perhaps this land belonged to him or to his father, but that was many years ago. This man - no one knows him in the village. He was absent maybe 20 years! I came and I saw this land full of thorns, uncultivated. It was a pity. So I came and cleaned it. For many years I cultivated it. I brought water, I planted trees. Now, this land is mine!" Jocha kept silent for a long moment, and then he said: "It is too complicated. I must go and see this land with my own eyes." Well, if the judge says so - they must go. So they went there, to this piece of land, and upon arriving there Jocha cupped his ear in the direction of the land, like this. "Your honor, what are you doing?" "Well, I would like to hear what the land has to say." "And what does it say?" "It says: I belong neither to you nor to you. You, both, belong to me..." That is what I heard from this wise, old man, and deep in my heart I do believe that if people understand it, maybe one day we will have peace. And we will have it not only in Jerusalem, but all over this world!

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