(photo credit: FACEBOOK SCREENSHOT)
This Friday afternoon in Jerusalem is bound to be tense. With hostility still swirling over the Temple Mount crisis and police bracing for more violence, nobody quite knows what the day will bring.
But Facebook star and Israeli native Nuseir Yassin is planning on hosting a meetup then in the capital – with a hopeful message – opening it up to anyone and everyone.
“It seems like the whole world is either with Israel or with Palestine,” Yassin, who goes by “Nas” on his hugely popular Facebook page Nas Daily, told The Jerusalem Post
on Wednesday. “It seems like there is nobody that is actually in the middle, because the only loud people are the ones in the extreme.”
So, amid threats of riots and violence, Yassin, 25, has invited all of his local fans to an event at the First Station – timed to start after Muslim prayers finish but before Shabbat begins (and buses end).
“It’s just a tiny little gathering of people that are in the middle, that want both peoples to succeed,” said Yassin, who gained fame by traveling the world and posting one-minute videos daily.
“It’s going to be a place where east Jerusalem and west Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are going to be in the same room together – which doesn’t happen very often.”
On Sunday – day 470 of his journey – Yassin posted his daily video, this time from Jerusalem, showcasing the violence and deaths that have been racking up.
Yassin said he seems himself as right in the middle, and wants to bring together others who feel the same, which isn’t to say that all of his fans think it’s a good idea.
“I got a couple of comments about Jerusalem being dangerous but I disregarded those,” he said. “That’s the whole point of having it in Jerusalem – because it’s seemingly dangerous but I don’t think it’s really dangerous.”
Indeed, the online comments have expressed a range of feelings, from Noam Segev Saban who wrote, “Are you nuts?! Do you know how dangerous Jerusalem is right now??” to Yousef Shahd who said, “I really wanna come. But I also really don’t want to get killed by an Israeli soldier.”
And Yassin is aware that by Friday afternoon, the situation could be even worse. “Mohammad GH” commented on the event page that he wanted to come, but “maybe it will be hard for us to cross Damascus Gate area to get to the location at that time.”
Yassin hopes he is prepared for any events.
“One thing I want to make sure we don’t do, is we’re not going to downplay the importance of those events that are happening right now,” he said. “God forbid people die on Friday – which is likely – I don’t want us to be like two kilometers next to them singing peace and kumbaya.”
Yassin said he expects the event to be “a tricky balance,” but that is one he has been perfecting his whole life, growing comfortable in his dual identity.
“I’m Palestinian-Israeli, that’s how I define myself,” he said. “I’m not going to say I’m full Israeli, but I’m also definitely not full Palestinian. I think it’s possible to balance both worlds.”